Hot temperatures recorded in the past few days in Costa Rica likely will remain constant until April, the National Meteorological Institute (IMN) reported Tuesday.
IMN’s forecasts state that temperatures in the coming months could surpass 36 degrees Celsius (97 °F) in various areas of the country. High temperatures will continue for the rest of February and the following two months , the IMN report states.
Maximum temperatures could surpass 36 °C in central and northern Pacific areas such as Quepos, Jacó and most of the province of Guanacaste, as well as the northern region, particularly in Los Chiles and Upala.
For the rest of the country, the IMN forecasts average temperatures between 26 °C and 32 °C (79 – 90 °F). The constant presence of strong winds, however, could help residents of the Central Valley feel cooler than the number on the thermostat.
Nighttime averages will be around 17 °C (62 °F).
IMN experts recommend that people protect from direct exposure to solar radiation, using sunblock and sunglasses with UV protection. They also recommend avoiding direct unprotected skin exposure between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
High temperatures also are one of the reasons for the recent decision by the Water and Sewer Institute (AyA) to implement daily water rationing in periods of up to 12 hours at a time during the coming months. The agency will enforce its plan according to a schedule based on the severity of the water deficit.
The IMN has also reported an increase in strong winds, particularly in the central and northern Pacific regions.
The Costa Rican Surf Federation posted a video Tuesday on its Facebook profile that shows a whirlwind recorded at around 2 p.m. from a car headed for Liberia, in Guanacaste.
IMN meteorologist Gabriela Chinchilla told The Tico Times that these whirlwinds occur when high temperatures make the air elevate quickly in a circular pattern.
“Wind also raises dust and other particles and produces the phenomenon that can be seen in the video,” she said.
Chinchilla said temperatures recorded on Tuesday afternoon near Liberia were above 35 °C (95 °F).
See the video of the whirlwind
Return of El Niño?
The report says that “the possibility for El Niño development during the third or fourth quarters of 2017 is significant, with a likelihood of around 35-40 percent,” the agency said. “There is only a small chance of La Niña development during 2017.”
Independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last month concluded that Earth’s 2016 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern recordkeeping began in 1880.