Although rain across Ecuador will taper off today the thick cloud cover over most of the country will remain for at least three more days. The Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (Inamhi) adds that cool temperatures will also continue.
In Cuenca, the weather institute predicts daily high temperatures will remain below 14 degrees Celsius (57 Fahrenheit) with nighttime lows ranging from 6C (43F) to 9C (48C).
The rainy weather across the country, which Inamhi calls “somewhat unseasonable” is causing havoc with travel in several locations. Three weather-related accidents were reported Thursday involving pilgrims headed to the Virgen del Cisne celebration which culminates next week near Loja. In addition, the weather made the pilgrimage miserable for those making it on foot from Cuenca to Loja.
On Wednesday night and Thursday, snow and ice covered the highway connecting the Amazon with Quito, with as many as 200 cars reported stranded before transportation crews could clear the roadway Thursday afternoon.
According to Inamhi, the weather is the result of warm air from the Amazon interacting with cool air from the Pacific Ocean. Forecaster Edgar Vaca said current conditions are unusual but not unknown.
“The moist air from the east is producing light rain over the entire country and the thick cloud cover is keeping temperatures below normal,” he said. “In the mountains and inter-mountain valley, temperatures in many areas are staying below 10C degrees.” He said the icy roads east of Quito are not unusual and occur at least once every year.
A Friday morning satellite radar image showed the entire country, with the exception of a small area near the Peruvian border, under cloud cover.
Vaca said that breaks in the weather are possible anywhere in the country that there will be periods of sunshine that will raise temperatures. “Because we’re on the equator, weather forecasting in Ecuador is often an inexact science.”
In Cuenca, fog and rain delayed the landing of a LatAm flight for 20 minutes Thursday night. Airport management said that the fog was temporary and no other flights were delayed.
Inamhi says that the seasonal warming period will begin in early September and that the cloudiness will diminish.
The weather is not the coldest of the year for Cuenca. In July, lows from 2 to 4 degrees C were recorded for three consecutive days with temperatures dropping well below zero in the Cajas Mountains.