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01 June 2011

Latin America Update #31: Dry Pockets Developing in Central America

There are a few ares of poor rainfall in Central America right now; the largest of which is in eastern Nicaragua. Northern South America has returned to a typically rain conditions. Meanwhile in the south, frontal activity is somewhat suppressed.

Parts of Central America are doing great, other areas are struggling a bit with rainfall totals. The largest of these pockets of poor precipitation is in eastern Nicaragua, mainly in the English speaking Mosquito Coast area of the Atlantic departments. This includes the city of Bluefields. Elsewhere, smaller areas of under performing rains exist in the central valley of Guatemala, the northeastern coast of Costa Rica and the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.

In northern South America rainfall has balanced out, not running significantly above average nor significantly below average, for the last week. This is good after months of sea-sawing across Colombia and the northeastern countries. Southern Brazil, and nearby parts of Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay typically have fronts move through this time of year, roughly one or two each week. These frontal systems bring rainfall allowing for a minor growing season in some areas. While the long rains were not a complete failure, the impacts of their poor performance could be offset (slightly) from better rains during the winter.Unfortunately we aren't off to a good start, with little to no rains this week, and erratic precipitation during the preceding weeks.

The erratic rain problem extends westward to Chile, and southward to Tierra Del Fuego. This means snow pack, critical for melt water, and winter sports tourism, is below normal.

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