Today I woke up to 5 inches of snow. It was 65 degrees three days ago. Where I live, unpredictable weather is normal - and it means I rely on the forecast a lot.
But in Quito, Ecuador the weather is surprisingly reliable: Sun in the morning, a few clouds in the afternoon and a rain shower to keep everything green! The temperature varies between 50 and 75 degrees fahrenheit each day and rarely is colder or warmer than that.
The strange part? The Quito weather forecasts you might see on your phone are often inaccurate.
If you’re like many, you’ve probably added Quito to your favorite cities, like this:
And that is what has me worried!
Most days if you look at the weather for Quito it will say something like “mostly cloudy” or “thunderstorms” - all doom and gloom. And yet, those of us who have been to Quito know that it is almost always beautiful with the sun shining. (At least part of the day, right?)
So, on a recent visit to Quito I set out to prove that the weather forecasts in Quito are not very accurate and any student planning to come to Quito shouldn’t put too much faith in these reports.
Here is the proof:
The weather forecast captured at 9:26am. Currently “mostly cloudy.”
And here is a photo taken at exactly 9:26am. Maybe you call that mostly cloudy? There are clouds coming down off the mountain. But to meet it looks pretty sunny! When I took this picture students had just finished up some last-minute homework in the garden and headed into class.
You may also note on the weather forecast that there is a 100% chance of thunderstorms by the afternoon. Let’s check in:
This was the weather forecast at 12:35pm. It is a nice, warm 73 degrees (as it is most days) but it still says mostly cloudy with 100% chance of rain any moment!
Here is what was happening at ACLAS in our garden. Looks pretty sunny to me! And it felt pretty sunny. I had to sit in the shade because the sun was too intense to stay in for long.
(An interesting side note: you will notice in this photo that the shadows of the chairs are directly under the chairs. This is because Quito is on the equator and this photo is taken at noon, so the sun is directly overhead.)
This is a photo taken in one of our hallways that has a “sunroof” of sorts. A nice place to relax or read when the sun outside is intense.
Here is a photo of another part of Quito about that same time. Maybe this fits your definition of “mostly cloudy”?
Finally, around 4:00pm, a few more serious clouds rolled in and it started to sprinkle. But, if you were looking at the weather forecast you would think that it was dark and gloomy with lots of thunder!
Here is a photo taken out of a window at ACLAS. By that point a few drops had reached the neighboring roofs.
It is true that it does rain in the afternoons in Quito often. But it usually lasts about 36 minutes and then the sun and cloud combination is right back until the sun sets around 6:30pm.
To conclude - the weather in Quito is pretty great most of the time. Bring a rain jacket or an umbrella and you’ll survive the worst of it.
And don’t put too much stock in what your phone says!