Ecuador’s Meteorology Institute (Inamhi) has issued a nationwide warning for high temperatures for Monday and Tuesday and says hotter than normal weather will continue through the rest of the week. Temperatures as high as 35 celsius (95 Farenheit) are predicted for coastal and lowland areas while Cuenca and Quito could see highs of 25 to 26 celsius (77 to 79 Farenheit).
The high temperatures — the highest so far of 2018 — coincide with what indigenous people call the “days of no shadows,” or the Eqinox. “It is not uncommon to record high temperatures during the Equinox because the sun moves directly overhead at the equator,” a Inamhi advisory reads. “We are suggesting that residents take precautions and avoid direct sunlight as much as possible and to drink additional amounts of liquids. The ultraviolet radiation levels will also be a concern, particularly in the sierra,” the message continued.
The highest temperatures are expected in Guayas, Manabi and Los Rio Provinces.
In Cuenca, Inamhi says temperatures will range from 26 in the lower altitude northeastern parishes to 24 in the west, in the Cajas Mountain foothills. Cuenca’s all-time record high is 28 (82 Fareinheit).
According legends of the Cañari civilization, centered around Cuenca from 600 AD to 1530, the March and September Equinoxes were periods of high anxiety due to the mid-day disappearance of shadows. Like some other indigenous communities, the Cañari considered shadows to be the gods’ acknowledgement of human importance.