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09 May 2011

Latin America Update #28: A Short Break for Colombia

A desperately needed break in the rains has helped ease flooding concerns in Colombia, but this flooding event isn't over yet. After moderate rains last week in Central America, a well timed break. Good rains elsewhere in South America, including across the northeastern end of the continent, where rainfall was (and still is) badly needed.

While flooding remains a concern in hard hit Colombia is getting a break. This should allow better rescue and clean-up operations in Colombia. River levels will also now be given a chance to start dropping back down, with a few making it below flood stage. This outbreak of flooding was much smaller than the flooding that occurred last year and will likely have much more limited consequences. Nearby parts of Brazil and Venezuela have also been slightly affected by flooding. These areas did not get a break this past week. Heavy rain is again a risk next week, as precipitation is expected to intensify over much of northwest South America.

After what looked to be a strong start to the rains, across Central America, during the last week of April, turned into a normal, to slightly below normal start to May. However, light precipitation has continued across much of the region. The Greater Antilles remained wet last week, even as the highland areas of the mainland dry out. This dry down is not a cause for concern, as last weeks rain should have softened soil, and this weeks dry weather may have helped farmers get out and sow seeds in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Rains are likely to return next week.

Northeastern South America had reasonable rainfall last week, snapping a month and a half long dry spell. The rains provided the first anomalously wet week since March in coastal parts of Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. More rain is still needed in this region to bring annual totals in line with the climatology. More rain, possibly heavy, is expected next week.

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