Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

by Judy King 28. July 2010 13:12

Rain Garbage Bag Rain GearFor some reason, I’ve been thinking a lot about rain lately –  maybe that’s because we’ve received about 20” of rainfall since the rainy season started six weeks ago – about 60% of our annual average rainfall.

So far, I’ve been as cheerful as Gene Kelly about our soggy summer, I’ve not been singing and dancing in the rain, but the mountains are wondrously green, the lake is rising – on course for a 30-year high point .

My garden has never looked better…but…unlike Julie Andrews, I’m not cooing about “raindrops on roses” being one of my favorite things.

Think about it, it’s rained 24 of the 28 days this month – and on most of those days, it’s rained in daylight hours contrary to claims you may have read on other websites that it only rains at night here in paradise.

Those claims are fairly accurate – in times of normal weather patterns. It’s when tropical storms and hurricanes start circling their warm, moist air into our region, the blue  skies darken and we move into cycles of gray days and hours of gentle, steady rainfall. It’s enough, as Elvis said, to have “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.”

28July8am Those Tropical Storms and Hurricanes

As Alex and Bonnie have moved up the Atlantic/Gulf Coasts and Celia,  Darby and Estelle have pushed rain to us from the Pacific Coast this month, I’ve had plenty of indoor computer time.

I’ve been following the tropical storms on The Weather Channel link on Amigo Rodrigo’s online radio station at KMEXRadio.FM. It’s easy to spot the oddly shaped state of Jalisco – it forms that prominent bump on the Pacific Coast and then reaches inland to our location at 5,000 feet on the north shore of Lake Chapala.

Be sure to click on the animate (Weather in Motion) button under the map to see what those clouds have been doing the past few hours. For example,  the map above is the still shot at for 8:17 a.m. EDT (7:17 a.m. Chapala Time). When you animate the scene, you see the storm cells that produced the .75” we received between Midnight and dawn…and you can see how that large series of cells to the south at 7 a.m. is moving into our zone toward midday.

editor4-rainI’ve also been taking some sort of perverse pleasure in checking the website for the private weather station in Riberas de Pilar – several times a day – just to see how much rain we’ve received. I must not be alone, the owner of the site reports 6,000 visitors last Sunday!

Rather than to start “Crying in the Rain” like the Everly Brothers, “Walking in the Rain” with Johnny Ray,  or complaining, “Oh No, Don’t Let the Rain Come Down” with the Serendipity Singers, I’ve been enjoying some extra time curled up some favorite books, Rain of Gold, House of Rain and The Rain God as I “Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain” (Donavan).

One recent “Day That the Rain Came Down” (Jane Morgan) I spent watching some old movies, The Rainmaker, Rain Man, and two movies titled Rain -- one with Faye Dunaway and one with Joan Crawford.

 
Are there really 800 Songs about Rain?

A little research showed me that while there are only about 100 movies with the word rain in the title, there are more than eight hundred songs about rain – some with lyrics of note for our lives this month:

 DSC00782  “Rain Rain” (Cher)

Rain, Rain in the sky
Everywhere I look my eyes see
Rain, rain fallin' down
Crying as it hits the ground

“Eastern Rain” (Joni Mitchell)

Rain comes from the east one night
We watch it come
To hang like beaded curtains
Till the morning sun
Water dripping from our clothes
You with raindrops on your nose
Ask me sadly please don’t go away now.

DSC00902 “The Late September Dogs” (Melissa Ethridge)

Come on let it rain
Let it rain down on me
Let the rain touch my hands
Let the rain set me free
Let it rain down on me

“The Rain” (Will Smith)

The little rain drops fallin’ down on me
But I can’t seem to feel it, feel it
Feel it coming over me

editor3-garciaKeep your Eye on Mount Garcia

“Can you Stand the Rain?” (Boys ii Men)  We’re still loving life here at Lake Chapala, “Come Rain or Come Shine” (Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra and Bette Midler).

Still….we’re keeping an eye on Lake Chapala’s south shore peak, Mount Garcia to see if it’s still shrouded in clouds.

You see local lore says that when Sr. Garcia puts on his sombrero, you’ll know it’s going to rain. Seems like all month he’s had it pulled down to his eyebrows.

Meanwhile, we’re wondering …

Who Will Stop the Rain (Credence Clearwater Revival)

Heard the singers playin’, how we cheered for more.
The crowd had rushed together, tryin’ to keep warm.
Still the rain kept pourin’, fallin’ on my ears.
And I wonder, still I wonder who’ll stop the rain.


Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region, in the state of Jalisco.

Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at www.mexico-insights.com, and in the "Mexico Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.

Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.

Daytime Drizzle & Rain – Is That Legal at Lakeside?

by Judy King 18. June 2010 14:29

rain-garden It’s noon here at Lake Chapala and it’s raining, pouring, actually these last 10 minutes or so.

I know, I know, someone told you it only rained here at night…before you start trying to send a sizzling email to city hall or the chamber of commerce, or to me for that matter, let me explain.

Most of our June – October rainy season, that’s a true statement. After a comfortable, sunshiny day, the clouds bank up, roll in and either around 7:30 or in the wee hours of the night, the thunder and lightening commences and then the heavens open to let the rain pour down . We sleep like babes – the temperature is cool enough to need a blanket and there’s that comforting sound of raindrops on the roof.

SO, What’s the Deal Today?

About the only time we have clouds, rain, thunder, drizzle or other “weather” in daylight hours is when a tropical storm is working on either the Atlantic or Pacific coasts – pushing masses of humidity ahead of their huge systems. When that warm moist beach air is driven by the seasonal storms over the mountain ranges, the air cools, the water condenses and well – it rains – in the daylight – in front of God, tourists and everybody.

In this region of Mexico where a weatherman (in any language) is as hard to find as larger size clothes and shoes, how are you supposed to know when these systems are moving our way?

I’m glad you asked.

MexicoSat_4-300x202 To keep track of tropical systems that are building, on the move, increasing in power, diminishing, or just plain stalled and funneling warm moist air into our area, bookmark this Weather Channel Map – it shows current storms heading for Mexico.

How do you locate Lake Chapala and our state of Jalisco on this map? The coastal portion of Jalisco is most of that widest bump on the west (left) coast – then it extends inland – to the north east (up and to the right). That’s where we are!

Thankfully this morning the warnings and watches for this system -- Tropical Storm Blass were diminished – backing the category of the storm back to a Tropical Depression.

Still, though there’s a good chance that we’ll continue to see rain – at night and even in the daytime – for the next few days. As you can see by this map, updated at 1:18 p.m. Lakeside time, there’s still a considerable amount of activity in this system – look at all of those orange and red areas indicating stronger cells.

I’m no meteorologist, but I’ve seen enough weather maps to predict that there’s more weather heading our way for the next few days. You can bet that we’ll have rain for as long as those orange and red spots are moving our way. That little downpour at noon was the effect of that “L” shaped small cell that you can see right over our area. Looks like there is much heavier rain to come.

Guadalajara’s Weather is Different

By the way, if you are visiting family north of the border or not yet moved here, don’t depend on the typical online temperature boxes – you know the ones – you can put on your home page and you see them on some of the Mexico-based websites. They show the high and low temperature for “Chapala," and sometimes a three or five-day weather forecast.

The truth is that most of those services are actually putting the numbers registered on thermometers and rain gauges in Guadalajara, Tlaquepaque or the airport under the “Chapala” heading.

rain-streetThat’ll give you a false impression for sure. Giant Lake Chapala at 55 miles long and 11 miles wide has a distinct effect on the weather here. Our hot season (April, May and early June) temperatures run 8 – 15 degrees cooler than Guadalajara. In the winter cold time (Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day) the lake works its magic to keep us from being Guadalajara’s low temperatures – easily 10 degrees colder than we register here.

SO, how can you know what our REAL weather is like? Bookmark the local weather site, Chapala Weather.  You’ll find an entire weather system at your fingertips, with none of the problems. You don’t even have to empty the rain gauge. Plus, this weather-obsessed resident of Riberas del Pilar (between San Antonio Tlayacapan and Chapala even has the stats you love to know – how much did it rain last night, what’ the year’s high and low temps, and how do they compare to last year’s hottest and coldest times, what percentage of this year’s rain has fallen, what’s the humidity, what’s the barometer doing.

Good Grief, he’s even keeping track of the dew point and the wind gust speeds. Everything you wanted to know about Lake Chapala’s weather, all in one handy spot – and it’s accurate!

Now that we know that this is going to be the way of the world for the next couple of days, I think I’ll head for the couch and alternate watching movies on my new TV and reading.  Popcorn anyone? 


Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region, in the state of Jalisco.

Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at www.mexico-insights.com, and in the "Mexico Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.

Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.

Baby It’s Cold – Even in Mexico!

by Judy King 10. January 2010 22:51

rain The bad news is that the waves of Arctic air that have kept the US and Canada in the deep freeze for the past month have been chilling residents and visitors to Lake Chapala, and even dumped a bit of unseasonal rain here in central Mexico.

Ok, we know that most of you north of the border will either mutter sarcastically or laugh yourselves silly that we are complaining about being uncomfortably cold, especially considering that our daily lows have been in the 45-52 F range, while late afternoon highs have ranged from the low to mid 60s.

Wait! Hold that mouse! Before you shake your head in disbelief, consider this…for most of us, the only source of warmth this time of year is the sun, and it’s been cloudy a lot here…the humidity has been between 44 to 93% and we even had an unusual all-day rain just a week ago.

Most of the homes here are not insulated, the windows and doors are far from air-tight and while some homes have fireplaces, most houses have no source of heat on afternoons when the sun’s rays don’t stream through the south windows.  I’m betting that even you folks in the Northern US and Canada kick on the heat when the temps drop to 45!

If you’ve just come in from trying to scoop another 6” of snow out of your driveway you are less than sympathetic to our plight. But if you are considering a winter vacation, you need to know the reality of winter at 5,000 feet above sea level in central Mexico. Bring socks, sweats and sweaters. You won’t need a parka, but bring clothes you can layer to keep warm. especially once your body adjusts to living here.

This time of year it’s easy to know at first glance which of the folks you see are the newly arrived snowbirds. In the Walmart parking lot Saturday I saw folks swathed in t-shirts, corduroy shirts, sweaters, jackets and shawls hurrying past the newly arrived visitors sauntering along in tank tops, short sleeves, shorts, and sandals. It’s an interesting example of the contrasts of living in Mexico.

While medically our blood may not really “thin,” we sure do feel the cold more after we’ve lived in this climate for a couple of years.

What a Difference a Week Makes

I took that pictures at the top of the page the Ajijic plaza on January 2. We were chapelstartled by the thunder and even more surprised to sit and watch water run along the edges of the umbrellas that usually shield our breakfast crowd from the bright morning sun. We delayed our departure for 10 or 15 minutes while we waited for the raindrops to stop splashing onto the plaza.

After a week of nearly constant clouds, I as so delighted to see the sun and blue skies on the way to breakfast Saturday (January 9), that I stopped in the middle of the Ajijic plaza to take this shot of the chapel bell framed by the mountain, the lifting clouds and the trees on the plaza. Imagine how pleased we were to have sun all day both Saturday and today. Now we can resume to our normal routine of going outside to sit or stand in the sunshine to get warmed up.

Mexico Insights Weather Tip: If you want to keep up with the weather here at Lake Chapala be sure to add a bookmark to http://chapalaweather.net/ . If you’ve been checking the temperature and rainfall using the more obvious Yahoo, Google or Weather sites, you’ve been seeing the information for the city of Guadalajara. Most of the year, there’s an 8-10 degree difference between Lakeside and the city, even though it’s only about a 45 minute drive. We’ll put the stats from Lake Chapala’s weather station in Riberas del Pilar into the links on this page to make it easy to check the weather when you come back to read our new posts.


Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region, in the state of Jalisco.

Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at www.mexico-insights.com, and in the "Mexico Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.

Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.

About Judy King

Judy King

Hi There — Welcome to my little corner of the world. I'm Judy King and I live in the centuries-old village of Ajijic on the north shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest natural lake.

I've lived here full time since 1990, and... [ more ]

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