14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 9 January 2017 — Havana is a winter scene. The waves pour over the wall of the Malecon in the low areas, the winds shake even the thickest branches of the trees, and people huddle together all wrapped up as they pass through the streets. The cold front arrived last Saturday, changing the image of the city that, until a few days ago, had experienced the fifth warmest December since 1951.
The drop below 68 degrees Fahrenheit was felt first in the west of the island and by Sunday had spread to the center and east. The cold has arrived accompanied by rain and high winds that have reduced attendance at schools and workplaces.
The winter effect is also seen at the Coppelia ice cream parlor, where there are very few customers. “This is the best time of the year to come,” said a customer, who took advantage of the low demand to order a bowl with five different flavors.
Older people complain of the pains in their bones that come with “the cold,” while tourists continue to stroll through the historic center of Havana in light clothing and with a thick layer of sunscreen on their skin. For them the idea of winter in Cuba is a joke.
Older people complain of pains in their bones that come with “the cold,” while tourists continue to stroll through the historic center of Havana in light clothing
The official press has warned of “the desirability of protecting children, the elderly and people afflicted by certain chronic diseases,” but housing problems force many to spend considerable time outdoors, in parks and streets, given the tight housing conditions which make coexistence indoors a challenge.
This is, in addition, the season of love. “So you can hug, without so much sweat all over the place,” said a teenage girl in love, curled up next to her boyfriend in a doorway on Galiano Street. In May or June they will probably only walk hand in hand, if even that.
The most elegant take out their scarves, berets smelling of mothballs after long months of storage, and turtle-neck sweaters. It’s “now or never” to wear these items. In a few days it could be back to the eternal summer that the tour operators promote and that the nationals must endure the rest of the year.
Specialists at the Institute of Meteorology have warned that the climate will be warmer, drier and more extreme by the end of this century. The temperature will increase by an average of up to seven degrees Fahrenheit and the country will suffer a 15% to 50% decrease in rainfall.