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Weekly Updates: Africa | Asia | Latin America

09 January 2011

Asia Update #11

The Middle East had a near normal precipitation pattern for the first time all season. At the same time, southeast Asia continues to settle into a generally wet season, except western parts of Indonesia. Heavy rains and flooding continue to be a major problem in eastern Sri Lanka. Cold temperatures are backing off in India, but may return to east Asia.
The Middle East had big news, in that there wasn't big news. Rather than a dearth of rain, or a flooding event, the Middle East was, well, normal. The last 30 days have been reasonable now as a result, despite the fact that earlier in the season was very dry, with one heavy rain event. Next week also looks promising with some of that beneficial rain and snow pushing into Iran and Afghanistan as another storm will likely push into Turkey. That is all good news.
In southeast Asia, we have stabilized with most of the region soaking wet and the occasional isolated flooding incident causing problems in the Philippines and eastern Indonesia. Western Indonesia, by contrast, continues to be dry. This probably isn't a big deal given how much precipitation falls in this area annually. This still bears watching as too much dryness in this area could become problematic to crops if it deepens. That's key, because in this climate a mild deficit doesn't mean there is no rain falling, just that the intensity of the rains is reduced. So unless the dryness, on a week-to-week basis gets a lot worse, there is no need to be worried.

Sri Lanka has received no rest as heavy, flooding rains continue to pound the eastern portion of the island. This past week the town of Kandy has been inundated with water, landslides have killed people and livestock and destroyed infrastructure. So far four people are confirmed dead with more than 800,000 people displaced. Those numbers will likely climb higher as even heavier rainfall is expected to move into Sri Lanka during the next seven days. Other cities and towns remain at risk.

The cold temperatures across India, Nepal, China, Mongolia and North Korea have eased somewhat. Temperatures are no longer as absurdly cold as they had been and the cold air damming event in Punjab, India has broken down. It is currently colder than normal in north India, northern China, North Korea and Mongolia, but not nearly what it had been. A warming trend is likely over the coming week in Nepal and India, while temperatures may return to the very unusual cold temperatures in Manchuria, Mongolia and North Korea.

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