Predicting the Weather in Yucatan

To put it mildly, Merida received a LOT of rain during the second half of 2013. And it looks as though the trend will continue.

In fact Thursday’s downpour deposited almost 5 centimeters (about 2 inches) of rain in parts of the city. The streets are flooded, and in fact the water is so high at some intersections that cars cannot get through. I happen to live in one such area and I am starting to believe the deluge will never stop.

In the traditional communities of Yucatan, the local people have a method they use to predict weather. In the Maya language, this forecasting is called xook k’íin ; and is called cabañuelas in Spanish. This is how it works…

Precipitation is closely monitored and annotated all through the month of January.

It is believed that the rainfall on each of the first 12 days of January, signals a pattern for each month in the coming year. For example the amount of rain on January 1st is an indicator of what the whole month of January will be like. The rainfall on January 2nd lets us know what February holds in store… (God help us!) January 3rd represents March, and so on…

The pattern reverses on January 13th; that day represents December. The 14th is November’s indicator… The inverted count finishes on January 24th. The last six days (January 25 – 31) each predict 2 months. The first 12 hours of the 25th represent January, the second half are for February…

The Maya Corn God
The Maya Corn God
At the end of January, the three calculations are averaged out and a firm weather forecast is arrived at.

The Maya astronomers and agronomists developed this system in order to advise the farmers of the most auspicious times for planting and harvesting their corn and other crops. If the xook k’íin foretold a wet June, they would plant in time for the seedlings to be nourished by that month’s rains. But if the weather diviners foresaw a dry June, the farmers would hold off their planting.

16 thoughts on “Predicting the Weather in Yucatan”

    1. There is nothing more “iffy” than weather. Merida lies so close to the Gulf of Mexico… a gigantic body of warm water that is like an incubator for storms. The farmers have a heck of a time… and like you, many Meridanos buy lottery tickets

  1. As I stated the other day in your great blog “enough is enough” with this rain. Last night the ceiling in my dining room leaked for the first time not to mention the mopping sessions I had to do to keep the water leaking into the house through the bottom of the front door under control. There are no “skirts” on the door to prevent leakage even though the threshold is quite high but I am confident the problem will be fixed soon. But guess I have no right to complain considering the tons of snow and ice storms they are getting in Ontario, Canada and east coast USA not to mention the cancelled flights. Toronto winters are fairly mild and heavy snowfalls do not stay but turn into dirty messy slush clogging street drainage grates and making walking challenging. I gave up buying good leather boots years ago in favour of wellies which have made a comeback and, unlike the traditional black rubber boot, now come in fashionable colours and pretty designs.

    1. I actually saw a couple of pre-teens wearing those boots in Merida last week. With the weather we’ve had, no wonder! Today the sun shone for a few minutes, but it was raining at the same time. Good Lord! However, as you say, snow is worse!

  2. Please send all the rain to California. So far, it’s been the driest winter in recorded history.


    Kim G
    San Francisco, CA
    Where we think this drought beats the heck out of twelve inches of snow.

    1. No rain in San Francisco… You need to move a few hundred miles north. Lots and lots of rain in Oregon, Washington State and my old stomping ground: Vancouver. My family and friends complain all the time, but again… snow is worse.

  3. Montreal was “blessed” with MINUS 27c on Thursday….the coldest day since1968. For the last three weeks we have had temperatures hovering between 10 to 15 degrees lower than average. Lots of snow as well, but no ice storm.

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