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Tuesday, September 25 2018 @ 12:37 PM UTC

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Heavy Rains And Wind Gusts Are Predicted For The City

WeatherThe Electricity Transmission Company (ETESA) announced bad weather conditions for today in the city caused by a tropical wave extended from Panama to the Caribbean Sea.

This forecast is predicted to last for three hours in the city, therefore, it is recommended to be cautious about the thunderstorms and wind gusts caused by the storms.

Heavy rains and lightnings were reported in Colon, and storms during the day are predicted for the city. (Panama America)

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Fallen Trees And Flooded Streets After Heavy Rains All Over The Country

WeatherHeavy rains and strong winds this Monday have taken trees down, blown off roofs and flooded streets in several areas of the country, especially in the city.

Javier Castillo, chief of operations of the National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC) informed some trees have fallen down due to strong winds in the areas of Tocumen, Mañanitas, Juan Diaz, Pedro Miguel, El Pantanal and Calidonia, specifically in the area of the Santo Tomas Hospital.

Some of them have fallen over vehicles and others on the road, thus blocking the way, he said.

Also the wind has blown off roofs in homes located in the aforementioned areas.

Furthermore, El Dorado, on Ave. Simon Bolivar, the wind has blown off several commercial billboards.

There was also a report of flooding in Multi Plaza Pacific Mall, located in Punta Pacifica.

Moreover, seven houses were flooded in Darien due to the intensity of rainfall, typical of the season, said the chief of operations of the SINAPROC. (Prensa)

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Heavy Rain With Thunderstorms in The City

WeatherThe National System of Civil Protection (NSCP) reported via Twitter there was heavy rain with thunderstorms in Tumba Muerto, El Dorado, the Alhambra and the Locería.

Heavy rain was also reported through social networks at Costa del Este, the South Corridor and Panama East.

Meanwhile, ETESA recommended through Twitter that “in case of thunderstorm, if you are outside of your home look for shelter inside a building and away from isolated trees."

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Highest Temperatue Of The Year Was Registered During April

WeatherOn Monday, April 1, several meteorological stations of the country marked temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit, one of the hottest days so far this year.

That same day, at 3:58 pm, President Ricardo Martinelli reported on his Twitter account that the highest energy consumption was registered so far in 2013. "Today we recorded the maximum power demand in the national electricity system. 1435.62 MW," he wrote. High consumption caused an energy crisis in the country, which keeps every citizen worried due to possible blackouts.

According to reports, the Anton Weather Station recorded 11.5 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the average per day, which is 89.6 degrees Fahrenheit; this means the temperature reached 101.1 degrees Fahrenheit during April 1st.

At the station in Santiago they reported an increase in 12.4 degrees Fahrenheit from their daily average, which is 86 degrees. The increase in temperature and the thermal sensation was felt through the entire country. The Divisa station, for example, reported 100 degrees, the one in David 95 degrees, the Tocumen station 93.9 degrees, and the station in 93.9 degrees. Although the latter three were not extremely high, the accumulation of moisture and thermal sensation caused discomfort and a lot of heat to people, to the point it increased the energy consumption.

"It's simple, the thermal sensation chill is measured by the degree of moisture and the more moisture there is, the more heat you feel, and this is what happens in the metropolitan area. Moreover, the area where the city is located, constructions and large buildings are incidental factors," said Jesus Salazar, meteorologist in the Empresa de Transmision Electrica (ETESA).

The specialist attributed the increase in energy consumption to the development of the country, mainly in the metropolitan area, where shopping centers, entertainment areas, homes and skyscrapers require more electricity. The 45% of energy is consumed by the commercial sector, while 33% is used by the residential sector and 13% by the Government, according to the General Comptroller of the Republic.

A recent study from the Laboratory of Atmospheric Physics from the Vice-Rector of Research and Graduate Studies of the University of Panama, in collaboration with the Department of Hydrometeorology of ETESA, analyzed the behavior of climate change in the country and the results showed that during the last decade there has been an increase in the minimum temperatures recorded in the Weather Stations of Divisa, Tonosí, David, Santiago and Tocumen. In 1998, an energy crisis was recorded, which affected the entire country. At that time, the government of the President Ernesto Perez Balladares took similar measures to the once applied today. By that date, the highest temperature in the last 15 years was recorded.

On March 20 of that year, in the community of San Francisco, in Veraguas, the temperature reached 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

That same year, the stations in Tonosí, Santiago and Los Santos registered climates of 103.1 degrees Fahrenheit during the months of February and March.

Another temperature record in the country occurred in 1983 when during June 10, the station in Anton recorded 103.6 degrees Fahrenheit; a similar temperature was recorded in Garachiné on September 12, 2006.

While in Divisa, during some of the days in the months of March and April of 2006, temperatures of 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit were recorded.

Ronel Solis, a member of the Foundation For An Integral Panama, said 30 years ago there was a similar drought, and the outlook expected for 2015 came three years earlier. "We cannot only worry when we are in times of crisis, we must work on a national environmental plan," he said.

Given the current energy crisis prevailing in the country, Vicente Prescott, Panama's energy secretary, said they will be vigilant to ensure the compliance of the energy saving requirements, in order to confront this crisis. (Panama America)

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Wingnuts and Morons Argue Over Normal Seasonal Fluctuations in Panama's Rainfall

Weather By Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com - The news this week is being dominated by the ongoing energy crisis caused by the delay in the arrival of the seasonal rains - Panama's famous "rainy season." Simply put, it has not started raining yet in Panama. The water levels behind three of Panama's primary dams used to generate hydroelectric power have fallen to critical levels, and they are now approaching the minimal levels required for operation. If the water levels keep falling, then these power production facilities will go offline.

About 50% of Panama's power comes from hydroelectric power. The government of Panama has taken measures this week to limit the drain on the national power grid, such as shutting down schools, forcing businesses to close at night, and changing the work hours for public and government employees, all in an attempt to reduce demand and to make the little water remaining behind those dams last as long as possible. These efforts by the Panamanian government, in conjunction with the declaration of a State of Emergency in four provinces related to the drought and its impact on cattle and agriculture, caught the attention of the world's media outlets. However, unfortunately some of them started to quote an incorrect statistic, saying that 60% of Panama's power comes from hydroelectric generation. That is not correct. The percentage has been climbing in recent years. Not too long ago it was in the high 40% range. During the recent debates and protests over new hydroelectric projects the number most often quoted was about 50% - and that's what I'm using right now. I think if all projects currently under construction were finished and brought online, then we would be at 60%. But right now it's about 50%.

Links to global warming? Don't be stupid. Links to deforestation? Equally dumb. The earth spins around the sun, on it's axis, and tilted. The Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) meanders North and South every year. And every year it passes over Panama. In November and early December the ITCZ passes over our heads, moving towards the South, often causing massive flooding and mudslides. Just check the "weather" section of this website and you can look back at the historical reporting on flooding and mudslides during those months. This period of time marks the end of the rainy season, and the start of the dry season (known locally as "verano" or summer).

Then - like clockwork - the ITCZ moves back over our heads, this time moving from the South towards the North, in the April and May timeframe. Normally the "rainy season" starts on about 15 April or so, marked by the return of the ITCZ. There have been all sorts of examples of the rainy season returning with a vengeance, causing flooding and mudslides in April and May. However there have also been other recent examples of the start of the rainy season being delayed, just like now. See this article from May 2008 for a recent comparison. The administration of Martin Torrijos faced a very similar crisis. They made similar decisions, closed things down, handed out low wattage fluorescent light bulbs, and took actions to limit consumption. Then the rains started. Then the crisis was averted.

And then as a result of those lessons learned, they did a very smart thing. The government of Panama took steps to greatly expand the hydroelectric capacity in the country. Back then. In 2008. Most of the projects under construction right now were approved back then and granted permits and concessions, because the government came to the correct conclusion that the country does not have enough capacity to produce electricity. Forget about excess capacity - there's barely enough new capacity coming online to keep pace with the expansion of the economy.

Consider this - the (relatively new) Albrook Mall uses more electricity every day than the entire City of David. A few years ago it was not there. How many new malls have been built in recent years? New buildings? New hotels? Apartments? Shopping centers? All of those things are sucking from the pipe. The power has to come from somewhere. If there were more hydroelectric facilities feeding the grid (overall greater capacity to feed demand) then the water levels behind all of those dams would be falling at a slower rate in case of a crisis such as this current drought. If you only have one or two facilities then when they go dry, the power gets shut off. Having eight or ten spreads it out.

And Panama is taking steps to diversify with wind power, solar, and natural gas, as supplemental power sources to the traditional bunker and coal fired plants, and hydropower. These things are also being built, and are not yet online and producing. Why are they being built now? Because of the similar crisis we faced in 2008.

As for the rumor that Panama is selling power to Costa Rica - nope. That's bullshit. The cause driven idiots who oppose new hydroelectric projects in Chiriqui for environmental reasons are spreading those lies - saying bogus bullshit to further promote their cause. The next time you get one of these environmental idiots in your sights for long enough to ask them the hard questions, just squeeze until they squeal. Normally they wander off in a huff, because the reality described by facts, science, math and economics simply don't align very well with their simplistic (green) view of the world. It's nice that Indians want to live in peace and harmony next to a gently flowing stream. However the rest of the (rapidly expanding) country needs the power. Wants versus needs. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. Just ask Spock.

Anyway - /rant. The simple fact is that in Panama sometimes the ITCZ doesn't show up on time, and there can be droughts in May. At the same time, in some years the ITCZ shows up with a vengeance and we can be up to our asses in water in the month of May. These variations are normal, and natural. They are not a new or even unexpected phenomenon. Panama has been working as hard as possible to expand the nation's power producing capacity (in spite of the environmental wingnuts) over the past several years, and has barely been able to keep pace with the expansion of the economy which has been growing at about 10% per year, seemingly forever. (Check math now.) Yup. Panama's economy grew by 51.9% from 2007 - 2012. That is a MASSIVE expansion, creating new demands for electrical power. Add a short drought and a delay to the arrival of the ITCZ, and the result is rationing and rolling blackouts.

In a few weeks the rains will come, guaranteed. The lakes and reservoirs behind those dams will fill back up. The crisis will have been averted. And then something else will happen, and people will forget all about it, just like they did after the 2008 event. But in the meantime, conserve as much electricity as possible. Just keep the beer cold - because that's important. Everything else can wait.

Copyright 2013 Panama-Guide.com.

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"Power Cuts May Be Implemented Today In The Afternoon" - Vicente Prescott

WeatherSince the country is facing an energy crisis, the Secretary of Energy, Vincent Prescott, warned that the cause of the absence of rain, the scheduled power cuts could start this afternoon.

Prescott said the measures taken have helped the reservoirs use less water, however, lake levels that produce electricity continue to lower.

"I think we wont make it until tomorrow, if a drop of rain does not fall," said Prescott, referring to the application of the blackouts.

He explained the National Dispatch Center (CND) is calculating the amount of Megawatt we need to reduce demand in the country distributed proportionally to the number of users of the distributors Edemet - Edechi and ENSA, who programmed everything by sectors and the amount of hours needed to reduce consumption.

He clarified the measure will not be applied to hospitals nor the reservoirs.

The National Dispatch Center analyzed in the morning of today, the information of both the information and the demands to define the application or to not make these measures. (Panama America)

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Drought-stricken Panama orders power rationing, closes schools

WeatherMEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Panama on Tuesday ordered government offices and private businesses to slash their power consumption and temporarily closed schools in response to a drought that has sapped the country's hydroelectric energy supply.

Opening hours for government offices will be reduced, while supermarkets, bars, cinemas, restaurants, casinos and other night spots would have to close between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. from Monday to Thursday, according to a statement from the president's office.

Private businesses in the tropical Central American nation will also be forced to cut air-conditioning use by four hours a day, beginning Wednesday. It's unclear how long the rationing will last, though government officials say they would reconsider on Sunday how soon they could re-open schools.

Panama, one of Latin America's fastest-growing economies, uses hydroelectric power to generate 60 percent of its electricity.

But reservoirs are now low after months without rain.

The Panama Canal, which transports about five percent of world trade, is unaffected by the power rationing because it produces its own energy, a spokeswoman said.

The drought has killed hundreds of cattle, damaged crops, and caused some $200 million in losses in Panama. The government on Tuesday declared a drought emergency in four provinces, representing about a third of the nation's territory.

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Power Shortage and Drought Emergency Reported In Panama

WeatherThe Panamanian government has ordered schools to close and government offices to reduce their opening hours as the country suffers from a power shortage. It also declared a drought emergency in a third of the country. Panama gets more than half of its energy from hydroelectric power and a lack of rain has hit the supply hard. Government officials said they had been forced to take the measures after previous drives to save energy had failed to make much difference. Government minister Roberto Henriquez said he hoped the measures would prevent more drastic energy shortages. Officials said they would re-assess on Sunday whether to lift the restrictions and re-open schools, but with no rain forecast they called on citizens to curb their energy consumption as much as possible. (lovefm.com)
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Rainy Season Might Start By The Ends Of The Month

WeatherCesar Osorio, member of the board of Hydrometeorology of the Electric Transmission Company (ETESA) During Announced it will rain the next three days in different regions of the country. These showers will be scattered and very light.

These light showers Explained I will not be really significant to actually Increase the lake and river flows of the reservoirs in Bayano and Fortuna.

The expert said the rainy season Could start by the ends of May, According to weather forecasts. (Critica)

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Cabinet Council Orders Stricter Rationing of Electricity

Weather By Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com - In a decision applicable to the entire country, Panama's Executive Cabinet Council of Ministers has ordered the rationing of rationing of electricity consumption in both the public and private sectors.

On Tuesday afternoon, 7 May 2013, the Cabinet Council approved a resolution mandating the rationing electricity consumption in both the public and private sectors throughout the entire country as a mechanism to ensure domestic consumption (availability).  

The resolution orders the closure of all supermarkets, cinemas, bars, pubs, casinos, discos, and nightclubs from Monday through Thursday, from 10:00 pm until 6:00 am.

In this Resolution, which goes into force starting tomorrow, Wednesday, 8 May 2013, the Cabinet also ordered all air conditioners to be turned off during the hours of 11:00 am until 3:00 pm for all public and governmental offices, malls, shopping centers, stores, and other activities.

These new measures have been added to those previously announced, which contemplate the suspension of classes for three days in all public and private schools in the country (primary, secondary and university level).

It also ordered all air conditioning systems to be turned off in public and governmental offices, and for this same measure to be applied to the commercial sector from 11:00 am until 3:00 pm in the afternoon.

In addition, work hours for all government sector employees was changed to 7:30 am until 1:30 pm.

The above actions have been taken in coordination with the Secretary of Energy, the National Authority of Public Services (ASEP), the Electricity Transmission Company, SA (ETESA) and the National Dispatch Centre (CRC), and they seek to ensure the efficient, continuous and uninterrupted availability of this public service (electricity) until this phase of electricity rationing is ordered to be suspended.

Editor's Comment: This drought is getting serious. These new measures take effect tomorrow, Wednesday, 8 May 2013. Someone asked the question "does this apply to Bocas del Toro?" The answer is - Yes. These measures apply to the entire country. I'm not really sure if that makes any sense because Isla Colon gets its power from a local generating station and is not connect to the national grid, right? In any case, everyone else in the country should please do your part to conserve energy. Turn off your air conditioner, sweat your ass off, then shower with a friend (look on the bright side, at least we have water this time...)

Copyright 2013 Panama-Guide.com.

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