The rainy season has recently started to pick up here in Alajuela. Instead of stopping around 8pm, the storms are carrying on into and through the night, maintaining a steady beat of pitter patter on the tin roofs, and eventually lulling me happily to sleep.
Just the other night, we had a particularly fierce storm with fat, heavy rain and powerful claps of thunder, but all the noise did not keep me from my slumbers.
In fact, it was the absence of noise that woke me up from a deep sleep.
The rain had abruptly stopped and there was a still silence hanging eerily in the air. Then all of a sudden BOOM – a thunderclap in the distance so intense that it made the air shake from reverberation…or so I thought. It was this exact moment when Julio got home from work and ran into the room to announce that the Poás Volcano was erupting!
After he assured me that this is normal, relatively normal, I sat back to drink an Imperial and watch the incredible show through our advantageous 2nd story window. Poás was grumbling every few minutes and each grumble was followed by the boom of a lightning bolt striking the volcano. It was absolutely amazing – lightning kept hitting the same spots over and over and over again!
The spectacle lasted for a good two hours when it unexpectedly stopped and the rain started again. But this time the rain could not lull me to sleep because I was too excited about what I just experienced and too full of questions about the Poás Volcano, specifically the eruption coinciding with the lightning show.
I learned that Poás releases it’s energy about every two years, it always occurs during the night after a big tropical storm, and always with a lightning show. Scientifically, volcanic lightning cannot be fully explained (geology.com details how scientists think it starts), but that’s okay because it can be explained by way of Tico folklore! 🙂
Poás Volcano vs. The Lightning
Poás Volcano is the Daddy of Costa Rica and Big Daddy Poás does not like lightning because too much of it disturbs his peaceful slumber.
When there is a fierce tropical storm with too much lightning, Big Daddy gets upset and starts to grumble. When the Lightning hears this grumbling, it gathers up all it’s energy, heads over to Daddy Poás, and starts throwing bolts at his craters. This makes Poás very very angry and he starts to grumble even louder, which scares the Lightning and suddenly everything stops. And because Mother Nature has been fighting, there are landslides and people die.
…well, I’m glad we could clear that up.