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17 January 2011

Asia Update #12

Flooding in Sri Lanka continues to be the number one problem in Asia. Elsewhere, drier than average weather has returned to Turkey, but not the rest of the Middle East, and snow pack continues to look good across Iran and Afghanistan.  In China, moisture deficits have been observed in the greater Shanghai area. In southeast Asia, Borneo and the Philippines have once again been soaked to the point of flooding, while southern Sumatra and nearby parts of Java (including Jakarta) have been dry.

The flooding crisis continues in Sri Lanka, as the east side of the island has been slammed with heavy rain, but there is good news. The rains are coming to an end. The winds that had been bringing excessive moisture out of the Bay of Bengal, have shifted and eased. Only very light rains will be falling over the next week, giving the island time to dry out and begin cleaning up. This will be a multi-year recovery effort for Sri Lanka.

After a couple of weeks of improvement in the Middle East, Turkey has returned to its season long problem of just barely being too dry. The rest of the Middle East, including the snow pack across Iran, Afghanistan and other nearby countries, continues to be sufficient. Cold air, with continued light precipitation is likely, especially over the next 24 hours. The snow pack accumulated in winter is the source of moisture for cropping activities in the spring across this region.

In China, although things have warmed up from that bitter cold earlier this year, some areas have now dried out. Small, but noticeable, precipitation deficits have cropped up around Shanghai, and extending back into the interior of the continent along the Yangtze River, about as far as Wuhan.

In southeast Asia, the Philippines continued to contend with isolated flooding occurring primarily in the more eastern islands. Those problems will continue, as additional rainfall is expected over the region. Borneo, which has also been contending with flooding on the Indonesian, Malaysian and Brunei parts of the island, will have slightly more moderate rains during the next week. Negative rainfall anomalies continue in southern Sumatra and near Jakarta on Java, contrasting with most of the rest of southeast Asia.

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