The National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (Inamhi) is advising those who live in Ecuador’s moutain region to limit their exposure to sun. On Thursday, UV readings hit 13 in Quito and 10 in Cuenca, both in the “extreme” UV danger range.
In Quito, the government asked public schools to keep children indoors as much as possible due to the danger level.
According to Inamhi technician Vladimir Arreaga, the high UV readings are the result of a high pressure weather system that has brought prolonged hours of intense sunshine to most of Ecuador. UV readings are highest in the mountains, he says, due to the thin atmopshere.
“Indirectly, Hurricane Maria is responsible for the intense sunshine we are experiencing,” Arreaga says. “Because it took a more southerly course during its formation, it pulled moist air from the Amazon region to the north, leaving us with extremely low levels of humidity, which means reduced cloud formation.”
A by-product of high UV levels, Arreaga says, is haziness that appears in the sky. “This is a kind of photochemical smog created when the radiation pulls higher levels of ozone into the lower atmosphere,” he explained.
The weather service expects sunny conditions to continue through Saturday. “The system will begin to break down Sunday when higher levels of moisture return to the atmosphere,” Arreaga said.