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13 July 2011

Latin America Update #37: Multi-week Dryness in Venezuela, Colombia

Multi-week dryness continues across much of Venezuela and nearby parts of Colombia. Meanwhile, Central America and the Caribbean have continued to have an abundance of rain, with only isolated pockets showing season-long deficits. A dry week across Patagonia, although intermittent rainfall has been sufficient so far this season.
Poor rainfall totals across Venezuela and extending into parts of Colombia, Brazil and most of Guyana have significantly reduced the amount of moisture available to crops. Rainfall shut off a couple of weeks ago and has yet to show any sign of coming back. Weather forecast models continue to show the potential for moisture to move back across these dry areas, but precipitation has yet to materialize.

Elsewhere in South America, rainfall has been sparse this week in parts of Uruguay and far southern Brazil. This is not a concern yet, as there is no longer term trend, and rainfall has been well distributed across the season. In far southwestern Bolivia, heavy snow has cut off thousands of people in a desert area. Because the region is not known for heavy snowfall, there is little infrastructure able to handle the situation. It could be weeks, or even months before the situation is resolved.

In Central America and the Caribbean, rainfall continues to be plentiful, triggering some localized flooding, mostly minor and on the mainland. Very few pockets of season-long dryness remain, the largest of which is on the east coast of Costa Rica. Meanwhile, some interior parts of Honduras and Nicaragua are showing signs of dryness. This area is a drought prone. As of right now there is no concern, as season-long totals remain high, but continued light rains could cause a problem for crops. Drought remains widespread in Mexico, with rainfall desperately needed in almost all parts of the country. It will take months, if not years, for Mexico to correct for this drought.

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