Taking the Heat
Climate plays a big part in a traveler’s plans, either as a seasoned expat or those simply looking for vacation. This year, the humidity started to rise in May, all the while remaining consistently and unbearably hot. The associated environmental, social aspects have also taken the heat.
Right now, in the Riviera Maya, we would normally edge into the rainy season, cooling us down with refreshing downpours.
However, the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) just released a statement last Thursday, September 10, stating that the current El Niño has become a strong one. This change in currents has undeniably been behind some of the environmental factors that have made the summer of 2015 one to remember.
For reasons as yet unknown, El Niño is a phenomenon that takes place every two to seven years, and can last for six to 18 months. El Niño events are considered strong when the temperature increases by two degrees Celsius above the long-term average. This year, the largest subsurface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific exceeded six degrees Celsius. In the Caribbean, the normal wind currents were interrupted, and a reversal of weather patterns occurred, resulting in a reduced frequency of hurricanes and torrential rains.
These subtle changes may not seem like much, but algae blooms and plant growth are directly related to temperature. El Niño is certainly one of the main culprits behind the overwhelming sargassum blankets of July and August, among other manmade factors.
Added to the abnormal weather patterns, for those who live here, the end of August came with more surprising and devastating news. The federal highway near Cancun caved in -luckily with no casualties-, and two young girls were struck dead by lightning while swimming in the sea one evening.
These phenomenons are unheard of normally, and as a result, they resonated with the whole population of the Mayan coast.
everyone pitched in to make sure the road was up and running again within less than 24 hours, and the funeral service was inundated with families, community members, and friends to grieve the loss of two young Playenses.
As beautiful and friendly as any city can be, natural disasters are unavoidable. These are experiences you share, by default, with a select few.
On this trip, don’t just focus on your suntan. Make the most of any traveling experience, whether as an expat or on a quick beach break, and get to know the locals, stop and chat and exchange experiences with them, find out more about those who keep this region moving.
When we created The Playa Times our aim was simple. We wanted to establish a progressive community paper that is appealing, informative and entertaining to newcomers, as told from the perspective of those that live here, and make a positive and valued contribution to the community.
In the short term, we can’t always avoid natural disasters but we can provide each other with the support we need to overcome these tribulations.