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02 February 2011

Latin America Update #14

Dryness continues to allow southern states of Brazil to dry out. At the same time, dryness is becoming concerning in western Colombia. Dry weather also continued to be an issue in Paraguay and Bolivia. Where was all of the rain? Peru, along the Amazon River in Brazil, and in Argentina.

Really, this was an overall good week in South America. Flooded areas of Brazil had a very dry week, while moisture pushed into areas of Argentina that very much need more moisture. Peru, which has swung back and forth between good rains, insufficient rains and flooding, had a great week of rainfall. There is the possibility (even likely) that there was some isolated flooding; the most likely area of flooding is in the more rugged terrain.

Colombia is the main area of concern. Early in the season large-scale historic flooding was a major problem nationwide, but the worst conditions were in the west. Typically during a La Nina (which is currently driving the weather over  most of the world) Colombia is dry. So the flooding actually ran counter to the global forcings. Now, it seems that the influence of La Nina has taken over, and the western part of Colombia has become extremely dry.  This is concerning because the damage from the flooding shortened the growing season. While some of the moisture from the flooding will have helped out at first, this long after the last rains is pushing asking to much. In other words, if they are not yet there, then western Colombia is very close to going from record flooding directly to drought.

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