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Weekly Updates: Africa | Asia | Latin America

01 December 2010

Latin America Update #5

Early freezes have hampered crops in some of the highland areas of Mexico. This was caused by northerly winds, which have also shut down precipitation in much of Central America. Meanwhile in South America patches of poor rainfall are mixed in with areas that have received sufficient moisture. Uruguay, Northern Argentina, Rio Grande do Sul and nearby parts of Bolivia and Paraguay remain parched.

A new problem has arrived in northern Latin America. Freezes. Normally they start in late November across Mexico, with a few occurring across the highland areas of Guatemala by late December. At the moment we are ahead of schedule. Hard freezes are occurring nightly in much of the Mexican highlands and frost will be found on the highest elevations of Guatemala sometime during the next week. Crops in southern Mexico, and Guatemala have already been put at serious risk by an early end to the rains, now there is the potential for cold air to attack what is left. Harvesting should be occurring right now and the cold temperatures may be hampering that process.

Patchy dryness is expanding in Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay. The same precipitation anomalies that have been in place across Brazil are deepening across Amazonas state where there is nearly a 1 foot or 300 mm rain deficit over the last month. Much of Colombia and the critical growing areas of Venezuela have managed to keep on the positive side. Significant areas of central and eastern Brazil also have a precipitation surplus.

Poor rainfall totals are starting to tilt to the serious side in Argentina, Uruguay and southern parts of Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil. Not only is there a rainfall deficit, but that deficit has been in place since the start of the rainy season. Significant rainfall is desperately needed across the whole region or there will be irreversible damage to crops. There is the potential for some relief in Paraguay and Bolivia during the next week.

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