Created: 3/1/1974

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Thlt chatxet lurtnrdei the geographicin ihe General Surcey dated


geographic regions

Panama and Southern High-


Lowlands and South-

Central Lowlands





1 Western highlands (photo)

Fig. 2 Dissected hills in the

Fig. 3 Rugged highlands in southern

Panama (photo)

Fig. 4 Mangrove forest at the mouthRio Chepo (photo)

Fig. S Flat plains in (photo)

6 Canal Zone strategic area (ma,;

Fig. 7 Panama (photo)

mphibious landing areas (tot Fig. 9 Climatic data (map and

10 Military geographic factors


Military Geography

Location and description

the Republic of Panama andessed Canalat the narrowest pari ol (he isthmus connecting North and South America. The Canal Zone is1 nautical miles west of the important oilfields in western Venezuela and isautical miles of Cuba. Panama's most valuable resource lias been its geographic location and the subsequent construction of the Panama Canal, one of tlie two most significanl interoceun ship canals of (lie world. The canalital factor in hemisphere defense and eronooiiet greatly facilitates movement of naval anil commercial vessels between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

The combined area ofquare miles) and the Canal3 square miles Including water areas) is about two-thirds the area of Pennsylvania The countryaximum cast-west extent of0 miles'aximum north-south extentiles. Thes about one-tenth that of Pennsylvaniand Canal.


'OitCaittri an* in statute miln unitUlcii.

Densely forested highlands, and plains comprise about three-fourths of the country; the remainder consists predominantly of cultivated or grass- orscmli-ii'ivererf lowland plainsap a! end oi chapter).

East-west trending bands of rugged hills and mountainsenerallyeet above sea level, extend almosl unbroken from the CutU Rica border lo Colombia. Highly dissected hills and mountains rise abruptly from the narrow Caribbean coastal plain ourf form Ihe drainage divide between the Caribbean and Pacific In thearrow spur of predominantly rugged hills (Figurextends Iroin the divide to the Pacific. The highlands forming the divide are an almost continuous belt of high, rugged, steep-sided mountains and hills characterized by steep, highly dissected slopes, deeply incised,haped valleys, and nearly continuous crests; perpendicular sharp-crested ridges are common in the west. Elevations increase from cast to westaximum elevation0 feel near the CoSta Rica border. In general, rlevaliom range fromeeteet in the west to generally lessO0 leet in the east Adjacent lo and within the Canal Zone, the divide is bisectedredominantly rolling plain that has some scattered dissected areas and low hills. South ofugged group of severely dissected, stecp-sided hilts and mountains (Figureises sleeply from the Purine coast andaximum elevation ofeet.

0 I

aimarge areaeastern Panama on the Pacific side of lhe highlandThe plains die predominantly rolling, with large areas of flat surfaces. &ome areas of dissectedew scatlered low hills. Highly dlsseclcd. divconllnuous hills and mountains fringe the narrow Pacific coastal plain and. in places, extend to the coast.

Dense broad leaf evergreen Forests, in places Intermixed with broadleaf deciduous Forests, cover more than half of western Panama and nearly all of eastern Panama. The trees are commonly closely spaced, are up toeet in diameter, andense continuous canopy. The deciduous trees lose their leaves gradually, and new leaves continually replace those that have fallen; thus lhe forest canopy is fairly continuous alt year. The undergrowth is generally sparse under lhe forest canopy but is more dense in

and along slrca interspersed with small, scalle covered areas near the coast cultivated or grass andumerous streams dm in th'. They arehod ant eastern interior plains. In the through deep valley* less than '. rocky or gravelly boltiwiv Si greatly from season to season,eet deep during t> January throughuring the high water per December. In the lowlands.through shallow,ee!ets exit* They arc generally more

FIGUREomplex moss of deeply dissected Milew smoll scattered areas of rolling plainsarge port of the Peninsula de Axuero. south of Santiago. The Nileply frow narrow, fwhJSng volleys or odjocenl ploinihaped cress. Mosl o* In area Is lesseet above tea level. Brood-lea' evergreen foreit or broad lea' deciduous scrub cover most of the oreaQ

FIGUREow MB* with rounded lo fugged summit areas stretch from the central port of lhe western highlands southward to the Pacific ond form the Peninsula de los Polmos. They are moderately dli-soe'ed, andhaped volleys prevail. Most elevations to this hill area are leu than MOO foot. Broodteaf evergreen brush Intermixed with brood leaf forest cover most of the

forests are ed or grass-fringed by

and plains. *pt in the they flowandluctuate ms arc less *er period, this level throughn width, however.

the low-water period, sandbars and gravelly bottoms are exposed locally Stream bottoms arc mainly composed of gravel and sand but ability or muddy near the river mouths. Mangrove swamps (Figurend marshes are extensive, particularity inthe southern coastal ureas. They vary in extentepth as riser floodwaters encroach on low-lying land and as lidal flooding occurs along the coast. Drainage features in the Canal Zone have been altered so greatly that artificial rather than natural drainage dominates. "The outstanding features consist ol the canal, which rangeseet In width, and two manmade lakes. Flooding does not occur in the Canal Zone because all drainage is controlled

Flat to rolling plains are in the south-central and southwestern parts of the country. The south-central plains are predominantly rolling, and scattered, roughly dissected plains are adjacent to the highlands Relatively small, discontinuous flat plains fringe the coastal marginsn the southwest, extensive flat plains fringe the coast and merge into gently rolling plains in theelatively large area of dissected plains flanks the adjacent highland in the north. Losv. lightly dissected hills are scattered throughout the plainsmall hilly area parallels the Costa Rica bmder in the southwest. Throughout the plains, elevations range from sea level toeel; however, most of (he area is less than GOO feet above sea level. The plains arc predominantly coveredixture of grassland and scrub, interspersed with cropland. Large areas of the plains in the southwest arc under continuous cultivation.

Numerous streams drain the adjacent highlands and flow sluggishly across the south-central and southwestern plains in broad, meandering channels. Most streams ate lesseet wide,ew major streams are as mucheet wide at their mouths. Although depths uf most principal streams are

FIGUREangrove fores? at the mouth of the Rio Otepo. The trees areeet toll ond thetr irunlis measurej feet in diameter; the, canopy is dense. Organic ooze Is common on the ground.

fIGuPEXttontiruoui o'eot of (lot pta.n- ore common along rheear AguaoVlce ore nearly feonreless; volley bottoms ore lew moobelowad interfluves, ond most ilcpei ore leurasslandspatches of low evergreen and deciduous loresl ond deciduous


;tnr!:'. I

sisihte. in us. during ilic - 'id>-

(lieit l< mis cuusiM largilv of iCi.miandI

sand. I'ulihvj arcnwi and it*

of Sand, mini id "li nmuril. cutii't'rtin nihilin-emit'

arid marsh" fringel tin rnjslalr iu>ii'-visliiil eef 1

inland almij tin- hitter ci hum's .ifoltheji.-ial .md pf

streams. The Miami* ami munlira hh-iimm' inii-iing (Wililii'sil> iirtivltiri




located mostly in southwesternre small and serve primarily a* regional agricultural marketing or distribution centers. Generally, in the urban areas, commercial and industrial establishments are so intermingled with dwellings that lew purely residential sections exist. The larger citiesrid street pattern and consist oF one- to two-story, closely spaced buildings constructed o( concrete, brick, or wood with (ite or gafvanlzed-iron roofs. The principalslieets arc generally surfaced and two lanes wide.he smaller urban communities, buildings are generally one story and of brick oi wood construction and have tile, galvanized-iron, or thatched roofs. Rural dwellings are constructed largely of adobe. Highways, although sparse, comprise the only integrated transportation network in Panama. The lnler-American Highwayransisthmian road, the Boyd-Roosevelt Highway, which serve Ihewo significantly populated sections of the country, are surfaced and in generally good condition. However, most ol ihe Feeder roads leading into the Inter-American Highway are unsudaced and become impassable after heavy rains, Single-trackage rail lines serve small areas in the northwest and southwest,ingle-trackagc rail line augments the transportation lacilities in the Canal Zone. Inland waterways, with the exception of the Panama Canal are generally utilized for local movement only and me relatively insignificant.


Panamaropicalharactcri/rdrolonged rainy season. May through December,hort dry season. January through April {Figurehart at end oleather conditions during these seasons arc influenced chiefly by the Intertropical Convergence Zone, located near Panama during the rainy season, and by the sttenglh ol Ihe northeasterly trade winds, strongest and must pronounced over the area during the dry season. In most ol Panama, temperature and relative humidity arc uniformly high all year and have only small to moderate diurnal variations. Rainfall is plentilul, averaging betweennches per year over most sections, and occurs mostly as showers.

During the prolonged rainy season, the frequent, often heavy, showery precipitation is Ihe principal cause of restricted visibility. Rainfall occurs on aboutoays per month, while the Frequency oF thunderstorm days ranges from more thanerin parts oF the interior tooer monthhunderstorm maximum usuallyin July, August, or September. Cloudiness is extensive and skies Frequently become cloudy lo overcast, especially during the afternoon.

The shorter dry season is marked by negligible to light rainfall, which occurs onays per month or less in most seclions, andeduced number of thunderstorms, generally lesser month Except for haie aloft and for cloud development along windward slopes, visibility is generally good and skies are clearartly cloudy.

Northerly ot northeasterly surface winds prevail throughout the year except in the mountain sections, where winds are deflected by topographic features, and in the southwesl, where winds ate quite variable during tFic rainy season. Wind speeds are generally light, rarely exceedingnols. However, strong gusts occur In some mountain passes and in association with thunderstorms.

B. Military geographic regions

Differences in terrainasis For dividing the country into four military geographicForested Panama, Southern Highlands, Southwestern Lowlands, and South-Central lowlandsap at end ofhe combination ol environmental condition* within the Forested Panama and Southern Highlands regions wouldelatively uniform effect on military operations, but there would be marked differences between these regions and the Southsveslern Lowlands and Soulh-Cenlrjl Lowlands regions

I. Forested Panama and Southern Highlands

These regions consist of Ihe predominantly forested highlands and plains comprising aboutoF Panama. The btoadleal evergreen and deciduous forests covering most ol the regions arc extremely dense, continuous, and have an almost complete canopy. Flanking the foresled highlands in the southwesl and south are hills and mountains predominantly covered by brush, scrub, and grass and having scattered areas of cultivation Extensive areas of swamp and marsh fringe both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. Settlements and transportation lines are concentrated in the Canal Zone and its environs. Elsewhere, the regions are extremely sparsely populated, and large areas, especially in eastern Panama, are virtually uninhabited

Conditions are largely unsuilcd for large-scale conventionalerations in these regions. Vehicular cross-country movement and oFfroad dispersal would be extremely difficult or precluded In most places by dense forest, steep slopes, or Swamps

and marshes Th* only exislirelot rooirmrn! would tie Ihe limited toad network that serve* the Canal Zone and III envi tons Several low-capacity bridges und, Inharp curves and steep grades would Impede onnud movement, and many of the iinsurfaeed mads become impassable after heavy rains. The construction of roads would be difficult Heavy grading and Masting and much cut and fill would he required in the highlands, and road alignments would be extremely rrtlrictrd Throughout the regions, extensive clearing and gruhlilng would lw necessary and constanta nee would be required to prevent the regrowth of vegetation The region is well lulled for the construction of underground installations The rugged hills and mount-Ins provide numerous sites for the construction of tunnel-type installations, and the thick soih covering mast of the plains, hills, and lower mountain slopes provide many sites for the construction of bunker, and hasty ground fort Ideations. Access to most potential constructkki sites in these regions, however, would he extremely difficult The dense forests provide excellent concealment from air and ground observation. Additional concealment from ground observation and cover from flat trajectory (ire would he provided by the rugged terrain.

The regions are unsuitcd for airborne and airmobile operations Because of the rugged terrain and dense vegetation there are virtually no sites for parachute operations and sites suitable for helicopter operationi arc limitedew areas of low cultivation and grassland Theexisting airfields constitute the best areas for most operations and the only suitable areas lor landings of assault-type aircraft The largest airfields are (oncrnlratcd in the (anal Zonewithiniles east or Ihe Zone; other airfields are moslly small, unpaved facilities that oould require roost ant maintenance. Sites suitable for the construction of large airfields having unrestricted.proaches are limitedew widely scattered flat plains. Klsewherr. eicessive slopes preclude the construction of all but the smallest airfields.

The coasts of these legions are poorly suited lor amphibious operations. Althoughany firm sandy beaches, neurshotr and. along the Caribbeanffshore opproarhe. are partis obstructed by reefs, rocks, shoals, sandbars, extensive mudflats, lUands. and idels. Many of the beaches on the Pacific coastat high water. Exits inland would be precluded in moil places by swamps, marshes, and deruels forested lowlands or hilh The few casting transportation facilities are suitable only for local movement

Terrain conditions in these regions are excellent fur irregular force operations. The dense forests provide excellent concealment from air und ground observation and would permit clandestine movement of small groups of personnelinimum chance of detection The rugged hills and mountains would provide additional concealment from ground observation as well as afford excellent cover from flal-trajectory fire In most places the only possible meant of emu-country movement would be on foot, vehicular movement would be confined almost entirely to the very few roads The population ami transportation lines are concentrated In the Canal Znne and its environs. PJsesvheie. the population is eilreroely sparse and many areas are vlrtualK uninhabited. Food supplies would be difficult lo obtain In these sparsely populated arras. The mil. source of supply would be from small, scattered agricultural areas and Ihe Canal Zone Klsh andsild plants are abundant; however, wild game is generally scatce in densely forested areas Freshenerally available from perennial streams limber for shelter materials Is abundant, but firewood mat he scarce in some areas Irregular forcen Id he subjected lo numernus detrimental physiological and piichological aspects in Ihese region. The tropical climate with heavy rainfall and high temperatures .md humidity is bolh depressing and enervating, shitiun: physical activity -nd creating health pmbk-m. Diseases and Infections develop rapidly, and mutciiol is subject to rot. mildew, andlants und animals, Insects, und allergenic plant- areidespread. The predominantly beavilt forded coasts and rugged, forested borders are mostls unpatmlled and could be clandestinely penetrated li. small groups with hide difficulty.

outhwestern Lowlands andowleadi

These regions consist of the large, in in >u> coastal plains along the Pacific coast, lhe plalm are predominantly flat toh scattered uir.r. of roughly dissreled plains und some law hills. Ihe central plains are moslly scrub- or grass-cose red. arid there are scattrred areas ofrge area- oiSouthwestern Lowlands are under nggtttawr cultivation. Extensive areas of swamp and moitl fringe the coa.ts Most of (he population, srttleiueitli and transportation lines of Panama, outside of thi Canal Zone and Its environs, ate located in tbfti regions

In these regions, conditions are, foi the most part suitable for large-scale conventional grout*


round emcnt chance Mouldmeani loot: almostand


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rl-ullv .tiltnly iiteird


uneiinner M) he


opicul ex and owing

.iieriel anew its are tested nostlyy



is lirel The and as of



be hese

part, und

On mud movement is possible all year on the Inter American Highway and on lhe surfaced roads leading lo the highway. However, most mads that intersect this highway are of earth and are impassable after heavy rains Olfroad dispersal and crusvouiinlry movement of vehicles would be feasible but would be restr-cied in direction by numerous streams and severely hindered In the roughly dissected ?rea* Cross-country- vehicular movement would be precluded in the areas of swamps and marshes In most of the region, the const ruction of roads would Involve only minor construction problems. Rottd aJignments would be gcnerallv unrestricted, -nd .mly light grading and clearing would be required. Extensive drainage facilities and much fill would be required in lhe areas of swamp and marsh There ate numerous sites suitable for the constiuctmrt of bunkers and hasty ground fortifications in the predominantly thick, well-drained soils of the regions The generally low relief, however, affordstiles for the construction of tunnel-type installationsfor cover and concealment are limited in these regions Some cover 1mm ftat-tra|erlory fire and concealment from ground observation would be provided by surface irregularities and sleep si ream banks. Additional limited cover from flat-Irajevtncv fire and concealment from air and ground observation would be provided by some structures in the scattered towns and villages

The regions are generally well'suited fin airborne and airmobile operations Their ate numerous good site* suitable lot parachute and hrlicoptei operations in the grass and cultivated plains. 'I lie regrouping of personnel and retrieval of supplies would be easy, and landings and tukeofft of helicopters would be unrestricted There are abo many salable sites In (he scrub-coveted plums; however, thef most sites would be limited. There are lew existing airfields suitable lor the landings of assault-type aircraft. The two largest airfields an south of David and northeast of Riother airfields are small and unpaved and would require constant maintenance. The construction of airfiHdi would, for the most part, involve only minor construction problems Runway orientations and air approaches would be generally unrestricted in live flat plains but would be restricted locally in the areas adjacent to lhe dissected plains and highlands.

These regions are, for lhe most pari, unsuited for amphibious operations There are many sandy beaches, but nearshore and offshore approaches In

Tor dWntm on pUre nanus <tr thr li*m on ihe,jurf rha vupparts of each region are partly obstructed by mudflats, shiftingeefs, shoals, islands, and Islets. Movement inland would be precluded along most of the coast by extensive areas of marsh and swamp. Elseivhere. muddy soils during the wet season and the general lack of developed transportation Facilities leading inland seriously hinder exit* from the beaches

Terrainn these regions arc poorlyor irregular force operation* Th* limitedlor concealment from air and ground observation and cover fromrajectory fire would severely rev! net clandestine movement of small groups of personnel In addition, cross-country movement of conventional torcei i* generally fair and convenlronal hclicopler and parachute operalion* are possible over wide areas. Food supplies are available from numerous small farms and plantations, however, edible plants, fish, and small game are limited Plentiful fresh water, although biologically contaminated, i* available only during the wet season During the dty season,supplies an? scarce Timber for shelter materials and firewood is generally lacking. Irregular force personnel would he subjected to detrimental physiological and psychological aspects in Ihese legions a* in th* adjacent forested highland* and plains The climate is only sjighlly less enervating, und there areew dangerous plant* andhe mosl I) unpa trolled coasts of these region* ure largely fringed by extensive areas of swamp and matsh and could be penetrated by small groups with hide difficulty.

C. Strategic area

n.Hil strategic area in lhe Republic of Panamahe strategic area contain* Ihe Panama Canale installation* necessary for the maintenance and defense of Ihe canal The part ol Ihe strategic atea within lhe Republic contains the political. Industrial, commercial,nd cultural center* of the country. The hvo metropolitan areas. Panama City (Figurendnd the Canalf the total population of lhe country. The Panama Canal is nf vital importance to the Republic because the industrial and commercial activities ol lhe strategic area are in large part dependent upon the existence ol this waterway. Most ofetaliations in the *iralegic area are concentrated ncai Cristobal (on the Caribbean) and Balboa (on thehe terminal poind of the

onol Zone strategic areo

and the lurgesl pom in Central America. The installations include Ihe variousor inlcinationul commercial shipping, us well. ruval facilities, military instalU'mn forand ground defense of Ihe canal, administrative mid military headquarters eiteniK* billeting and storage facilities, and most uf Ihe industrial installations in Ihe Republic Industrial development is limited mainly to food processing and to the manufacture of conslructlon materials An oil refinery,apacity0 borreh perocated near Colon in ibe Las Mlnat area: petroleum storage facilities are available for0 barrels, of which% etude storage Otheracilities al seven sitesout-haul the Cnual Zone provide ttorage forarnffi nl lefmed products. The largest powerplaiil In the0 Likmatts) is also located in the Bahu Las Minus area- The strategic urea is the control truer for the nationwide wire and radio telecommunication! network International telecommunications trafh< it routed through nearby radio communication stations and tbe satellite ground station aboutiles northeast of Panama City. Anouu! submarine

cablehe Canal Zone. near Colon Wilkin Colon is an important loti acre, enclosed, free-porl mne Ol the hi rnosl important airfields in the strategic area, three arc mililary airfields in iht Canal Zone ami lliree are civil airfield* northern ol Panama City. Tncumen International Airfield, one of the dvi) facilities, handles the largest volume ol traffic and is one of two airfields in the country open to international traffic. It has complete overhaul and repair facilitieso be expanded in the near future




Other important areas are Da-nd and Puerto AimuHles

ami maiLrt tenter.

Puerto Annurllet

Intt-rri.ititiiul -nl-til rifiirby.pnpulatMin1 ttanifH fii.llalc. lorol ri'lnrdonnm ol




D. Internal route

The internal routeap at end of chapter) provides the easiest avenue ol movement (mm Ihe land approach southeastr. Costa Hlea. and from Ihe amphibious landing area aboutilts soulhweil of the Canal Zone to the strategic area. The route crosses mostly flat to rollinc plains, although surfaces are dissected in many plate* The plains are covered mainly by grassland or scrub and cropland, but swamps and rnarshes are eitensive in parts ol the luotr Transportation faciktwv consuload, part ol the Inter-American Highway, and. in the extreme southwest ailroad The road i> concrete

two lanes, and in good condition

Landslides, washouts, and rnanv sharp nines and strep grades would hinder onroad movement Hi. rail line Is tingle track and JO" gage. During the iliy season, offroud dispenal and cross-country movemenl generally would be unrestricted In the flat to rolling plains but would be severely hindered or precluded b> steep slopes in dissectrj areas and in pines, by twamps and marshes Dunng the remainder ol ih* year, muddy giound would pecdude nffruad dispersal and cross-country mosement locally

E. Approaches,

The perimeter of Ihe country lotah alioul ILand boundaries extend approximatelymostlv across forested hills and mountains.boundaiirs are demarc-altd and unfoitilledZonermle-wioV slrtp. dividingof Panama into two neatly equal partsenclave. Colon, is on theof the Canal Zoneap at end

The boundary with Costa Rica,for Ihe most part, di-melv forested hillsIn the north, it isenselyand In most ol the south an open fwresledplain The Bio Sixaola marks thethe extreme north. Tlie boundary with Colombiamiles long and is mostly across denselyand mountains

The Canbbeaniles, hasirregularities and tl bailedredoininsntlv rolling

er us i>

lo hillock) plain Extensive areas ol freshor marsh fringe the shore in the eitrem*Pacificiles long, is indentedbays mid gull* The predominantlyis interrupted by hills in the central andsections Extensive areas of swamp,or marsh, fringe much of the shore and,east, border estuaries that extend farclaims territorial (unsdlctionautical miles of its shores.

Oveiland approach toeverely hampered oi precluded by the perennially Urge Rio Sixaola. dense forest, and rugged highlands, movement over the borders is virtually impossible Developed transportation facilities cross only the Costa Rica border The principal facilities consistection of the Inter-Americanail line in tbe southwest,hort ad line in the northwest that lacks connections with other parts ol either Costa Rica or Panama The approach from Costa Rica extends across open to densely forested plains andoad that it gravel surfaced and two lanes wide There are few possibilities lorpcrsal or cross-country movement.

Sea approaches to both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts are partly obstructed. Offshore approaches are mostly deep and cleat along the western half of the Caribbean coast but are channelized and partly obstructed byocks, shoals, and islet, in the eastern half Neanhorr approaches to the entire coast are partly obstructed by nicks, shoals, sandbars, stretches of fringing coral reef, idands. and islets Nearshore bottom material consists of land. mud. shell, and coral reef, bottom gradients vary from flat to steep Tides are diurnal andange ofoot.eet or higher occurs infrequently in all months on protected shores and up to SI* of the time, January through March, on eipoted shores Then- are many beaches consisting mainly of firm sand along the Caribbean coast, but few have feasible exits, beach gradients are moderate to mild in lhe low-water to high-water zone, and are generally sleep in the high-water Tone Movement inland would beampered or precluded by dissected, densely forested plains that back most of the shore and. In the west, by extensive areas of Iresh-water swamp or marsh.

Offshore and nearshore approaches to the Pacificare parti* obstructed by rocks.hoals.

idands. and Islets Nearshore approaches are alwi partly obstructed by fnngtng reefs, shifting sandbars, and extensive mudflats. Nearshore bottom material is composed of sand, mud, rock, shell, and gravel; flat to mild bottom slopes are common Tides are seniicbumal and have spring ranges oftoeet or higher can be expected lo occur Infrequently on protccled shores and up5 of the time on exposed shores. Beach materials are sand, mud.and rocks Cradientson the beaches are flat to sleep in the low-water to high-water lone and are predominantly sleep to moderate In ihe high-water zone. Exit from the beaches would he precluded In most places by mangrove swamps and marshes ot densely forested,issected terrain Transpor. tation facilities leading inland are virtually nonexistent ulong most ol the coast and arc general. Inadequate where they do exist. The amphibiou. landing area* shown onap al endhapter, provide MM lo the strategic area or to thr internal route leading to tho strategic area. Detailed tnformalion on the amphibious landing areas Is presented in Figure 8


There uie four air approaches* to Panama. The northernver the Caribbean Sea. the eastern over Colombia, the toulbern overifi. Ocean, and the northwestern over Costa Rira anil southern Nicaragua.

Rugged mountains In the eastern und northwcJerii are hazard* lu low-(lying aircraft Crtxt. are genera lit lesseet above sea level, however, several peak* in lhe northwest are0 feet,ew in the Cast0 feel The highest is in the eastern approach and nsc to nearfyret Weather condition* in general are most favorable over the Pacific and least favorable over land approaches Over all approaches, weather conditions are usually favorable in December through April, and hazardous conditions occur most often in May through Noverobr. Winds aloft are light and easterly throughout the year0 feet.0 feet, winds temaln easterly during June through November and westerlies prevail in Decembei through May. Mean speeds an- mostly less thannots

During the period May through November in all approaches, the principal weather hu/.irds are

fw*an approartV. euradmdr,Ike boeJanjma


extensive eorivectlve cloudinesst) which is accompanied bv frequent rain shovTers. moderate to sevrre turbulence, and the increased nsk of severe icing0 feel, the mean height of tbe freezing level Convectlve cloudiness and thunderstorm activity tend to he most pronounced dunng the afternoon over land and at night over water Thunderstorm activity, another major hazard, isaximum at this lime of year, occurnrtg oa5 toays per month in allnd upays per month in some areas Thundeotoims are especially severe over and near mountainous regions where vertical development often reaches heights00 fret. Visibility is generally good but may be restricted for brief periods during rain showers and thunderstorms Tropical storms infrequently affect the

northern approaches and cause widespread, multi-layered cloudiness, strong winds, severe turbulence, and heavy rainfall.

Dunng Ihe period December through April, weather conditions ate largely improved by the decrease in convrctive, and thunderstorm activity, generally less thaner month in all sections and lesser month in some areuv Vertical doud ueselorxnent is usuallv limitedeet and seldom extendi0 feet, thus reducing the liked howl of severe turbulence and aircraft icing. Shower activity Is sporadic and widi-tv scattered, and good visibility prevails most of the time. However, occasional cold fronts penetrate the approaches from the north, causing low ceilings, low visibility, and squally conditions for bnef peri>*l<


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