Rainy season in Central Mexico has begun. Flowers are blooming on the cacti, grapes are plumping up on the vines and the desert dust is washed away. As romantic as this all sounds, the rainy season in Mexico brings with it a lot of good, a little bad and some ugly.
Weather in Central Mexico is fantastic with lots of sunshine, low humidity and a short rainy season. We call the rainy season between June and July our “second spring”. But just like all places in the world, some things they are welcoming and other things are not. Florida wasn’t perfect with its unpredictable hurricanes, but many people think it would be a dream to live there. I thought I would share with you the good, the bad and the ugly of Central Mexico’s rainy season, and though it’s not newsworthy, it could save your shoes and dog from an uncomfortable and dirty situation.
Before the rain…
After the rain…
After a handful of rainy days between January and June, the rain is a welcome addition to knocking the dirt and dust particles out of the air, especially in our neighborhood where there is a lot of construction. Coming from Florida, we were used to summer rains. The high humidity 9 months out of the year meant you were usually drenched in sweat whether it rained or not. In this semi-arid climate, the humidity levels do go up when it rains, but it feels like a natural humidifier that nourishes the skin and doesn’t make my hair all jungle crazy.
The best part about the rainy season is that the brown landscape becomes green. It’s amazing how color can affect your mood, but driving around for the past month, I was so sick of the dull, dry hills. Grass and new leaves grow fast, so just after a week or two of rain, things look brighter.
The hills and plants may be changing colors, but the landscape still needs time to grow. Meanwhile, the tierra negra that is used around plants and farm fields transforms into a sticky tar-like substance when it gets wet. During the dry season between January and May, the thin topsoil is dusty, and underneath it’s hard like cement. but once the rains come, you can’t walk across it. Just a little bit of runoff on the road makes it slick (like black ice in winter) and it sticks to shoes and paws like tar. A strong spray nozzle on a hose and scrubbing is the only way to get it off.
Cracked, dry earth….
When it first rains, the storms are violent enough to knock the power out. The first real rain of the season was so fierce, the power and internet were out for hours and I had to cancel my VIPKid classes the next day. The rains level off and are more frequent at night over time. Afternoon showers are short, and everything dries quickly. On occasion we will get a freak hailstorm between July and August. Have you ever seen “snow” in Mexico? Check out our post and video on our first hailstorm.
And let’s not forget the surrounding vineyards. Grape clusters become plump, but the late rains can cause mold to grow in between the grapes. Winemakers in Central Mexico watch the weather and test the grapes daily. White wine grapes are usually harvested at the beginning of August or sometimes earlier depending on the rains. Red wine grapes take a little longer to reach optimal sugar levels and are harvested in late August through September.
Unfortunately, with the new rains come new bugs, in droves. The roads are covered with these fat beetle-roach-like insects for the first two weeks of the rainy season. They are attracted to lights, so you’ll see and hear them on the screens of the windows trying to get in, or flying into streetlights. The next morning the driveway and streets (especially under streetlights) will be littered with their ugly bodies.
Another gross thing about these bugs is the dog likes to eat them. We aren’t sure if they have some hallucinating quality to them, but 30 minutes after Ocho eats them he starts chasing his tail. Really weird. You can see him doing his crazy circles on instagram.
There you have it. It’s not always roses and rainbows living the expat life in Mexico. Every place has its quirks, but the good definitely outweighs the bad and the ugly. When should you visit? Check out our post on The Best Time of Year to Visit Colonial Mexico for weather and festivals.