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Ice and snow snarl traffic east of Quito as ‘ugly weather’ settles over the country

Icy conditions stopped most traffic Thursday morning between Baeza and Quito. (El Comercio)

More than a hundred cars and trucks have been stranded in the higher mountains east of Quito as snow and ice make highways impassable. At mid-morning Thursday, about 60 vehicles were idled at the entrance to the Cayambe-Coca Reserve and the Papallacta – Baeza highway remained closed as work crews cleared the ice.

The highway is the main route from the Amazonian cities of Tena and Nuevo Loja to Quito.

“The rain and snow have created a sheet of ice on the roadways in the higher elevations and this must be cleared before traffic can move safely,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Transportation said early Thursday afternoon. He added that the weather was “ugly and not getting any better.”

The spokesman urged Quito-bound drivers from the Amazon to take the Baños-Puyo-Ambato highway as an alternative.

Ecuador’s meteorology institute reports that light rain was falling over much of the country and the weather pattern is expected to continue through Friday. “We have rain and heavy clouds from the Colombian border in the north to the Peruvian border in the south,” the institute reported. “Low temperatures at higher elevations are making conditions worse in many locations.”

At noon on Thursday, a weather satellite image showed most of the country under heavy cloud cover with occasional rain.

The institute predicted that the mountains and inter-mountain valley will see a warming trend beginning in about two weeks with “a return to seasonal norms.”

11 thoughts on “Ice and snow snarl traffic east of Quito as ‘ugly weather’ settles over the country

  1. I drove up to Tres Cruces this afternoon, arriving around 4:30, to see if there was any snow, but it was all rain. Maybe tonight, but I would guess not. If I had found any, I would have taken a few pics and turned around to come home before getting on a slick road. One of my goals in moving to Ecuador was to never drive on icy roads again.

  2. QUESTION: Been living here going on nine years in the Andes, the weather and esp cold temps are seriously frigid recently and threatening some North Americans’ health and general welfare. Of course, no central heat etc, etc. . Anyone know generally what the “seasonal norms” are? Frigid weather? Snow and more rain or just clouds, 20 minutes of sun per day? WHat can we expect soon? Jajajajajaa…

    1. More of the same!!! We’re moving into a Solar Minimum known as the Eddy Minimum.

      The previous two were “Maunder Minimum & Sporer Minimum” Google!!

    2. August is usually a cold, windy month. It’s not as cold if the sun comes out. October is often very dry. We’re always waiting for the rain to begin in early November to plant corn. March, April, and especially May are the rainy months. These are general Cuenca weather patterns that can fluctuate in any given year. The people around here don’t believe me when I tell them that in the US, meteorologists can predict the weather 4-5 days in advance.

      1. Lorenzo: Did you google the datos Libby replied to me? If you are a local – what do you think of the NOAA article on sun spots and the solar minimum? You can google the Eddy solar minimum.
        Lived in Quito for 8 years – it has been a different part of the Andes there with many different microclimates. Sometimes cold, dry — here this cold for past month has been a serious penetrating cold. Anecdotally, basic changes are occuring worldwide, it seems.

        1. How sun spots affect climate change is not my area of expertise. From years living in the Cuenca area, I’ve noticed that on average, August is the coldest month. You’ll notice the fruit trees have lost most of their leaves. It’s winter time (not to be mistaken for invierno). August is also a windy month. The cold + the wind + the drizzling, overcast skies = serious penetrating cold. Don’t worry. “Spring” is just around the corner. 🙂

            1. Keep the faith, sueb4bs. We’ll be planting corn, a warm season crop, in October/November just like every other year. I’ll bet you a sucre.

      2. Unconfirmed, but I heard that if you exchanged the US weathermen with the US economic advisors, no one would notice! lol!

  3. One of our goals is to NEVER see anymore snow. That will never happen but we are working on minimizing being around the horrible cold weather.

    1. We never see snow here in the Galapagos and rarely see rain. I’ll be wearing shorts and flip-flops every day until I go back to work.

      It’s a rough life, but somebody has to do it.

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