Rain in the Desert

Coastal Peru is one of the driest deserts in the world. Lima normally receives about 1/10 of an inch of rain each year. This "rain" usually comes in the form of mist that falls in the winter fog. The lack of rain is evident: there is virtually no vegetation. Only areas that are planted, watered and maintained can sustain plants and trees. Actual "rainfall" is rare along the coast.

Scientists believe that the water temperatures along Peru's coast is warming up again. This causes weather changes around the globe. This phenomenon is called "El Niño." This simple change in water temperature can cause great changes in Peru. It actually can cause rain in the desert. The last two El Niño events in Peru, in 1982 and 1998, caused significant rain. This is not good news for those living along the coast. Most homes are not constructed to withstand large amounts of rain. Drainage systems are not in place to handle a large rain event. Landslides are also a problem because of the lack of vegetation. Fortunately, scientists believe this El Niño event will be minimal and have less influence on Peru's weather.

We have noticed more damp mornings than usual. We have actually had enough mist to make the ground wet several times this month. Usually this only happens a couple of times a year. We will actually enjoy the mist for now; it means less dust floating around in the air!