The weather in Panama
Well, this is the tropics. It can get pretty warm here. Of course, in the mountains things cool down but Panama City is on sea level. Here are the main points:
A rainy season & a dry season
In Panama seasons are not as much defined by drastic changes in temperature; rather, they are determined by the amount of rainfall. The Panama dry season, December through April, or what is known in Panama as “summer”, tends to be much sunnier and drier. The rainy season in Panama, May through November, has more rainfall that usually comes in short and local showers (around Panama City) and then tends to dissipate to blue sky.
Lower temperatures during these months can be expected in Panama. Panama’s dry season is not always dry and the rainy season is not necessarily rainy and wet all the time. Panama is a tropical country where the rains and sunshine intermingle. During the rainy season, mornings are generally very bright and sunny and afternoon rain showers are common every day.
Normally, the dry season means there’s practically no rain at all in Panama City during the first 3 months of the year. This ‘summer’ we had some rain at least once a week. That was actually ideal as it helped us to keep the gardens as green as always.
But last December (2010) we had some of the heaviest rainfall on record and in the Gamboa area we had more rain in 3 days than the amount of yearly rain in say The Netherlands or Germany. Of course, we are used to it and so is most of the infrastructure so it doesn’t create some kind of national emergency.
The country’s climate is characterized by heavy rain that does not normally last long, or by more constant rainfall lasting all night (or all day) long (mostly October, November). Temperature changes are mostly determined by altitude rather than by season or amount of rainfall. The weather is, on the whole, quite unpredictable: you know it will rain today but you don’t know when or where. You can start playing soccer with clear blue skies and 30 minutes later you have to run for cover.
Panama is a very humid country. In some regions relative humidity can reach 90% (especially on the Atlantic coast). The North Pacific is less humid, but the entire Caribbean coast is quite damp.
Here is some graphic data to illustrate the above.
- Don’t bring a sweater unless you go to places like Boquete.
- An umbrella isn’t that much use; rain poncho works better.
- After 4:00 p.m. it’s always BBQ-weather (sometimes below a roof ).
Here’s a few more useful links on the topic:
- ‘Current showers”; a radar image Panama Canal Authority
- Geography of Panama (Wikipedia)
- Accuweather Panama City, Panama