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27 April 2011

Latin America Update #26: Rains Arrive in Central America Highlands

Early season rains pushed into Central America this past week. Flooding remain firmly entrenched in central Colombia. Northeastern South America remained dry, raising concerns after more than a month of poor rainfall. The Amazon River basin was also dry, but here the break is a respite from the heavy rains of the previous weeks. A front provided late season rains to the Rio de la Plata basin, as far north as Paraguay.

A very active week across much of Latin America. Central America kicked off its wet season with moderate showers in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Those moderate showers extended westward into southern Mexico, with light rains further north, along the eastern mountains. Dry weather help prevent flooding in Costa Rica and Panama, similar to what is occurring in Colombia. In Colombia hundreds are dead and as thousnads have been left homeless and millions are affected by the heavy rains, flooding and landslides. Currently, the worst impacted areas are in the southeastern part of the country closer to the border with Brazil.

Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana have all continued to dry out this past week. This is a serious problem as it has now been more than a month since rainfall has approach normal. The past week has been better, the inland areas had some light showers. However most of the population and agriculture of all three countries is located along the coast, so this improvement is really just one for the maps. Further south in Brazil a drier week in the Amazon basin has allowed farmers to get out and do some field work before the rains return. Although this is not the primary agricultural land, substance farming is widespread in central Brazil.

To the south, where a late season front has pushed through Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay in the Rio de la Plata basin. All three counties are in need of additional moisture. This won't improve cropping activities (which are largely finished for the season), this may improve pasture for livestock and improve drinking water availability.

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