El Nino to Yield Flooding Rain From Argentina to Brazil, Beneficial Rain for Drought-Stricken Chile
By By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist.
July 20, 2015, 9:22:46 PM EDT
AccuWeather meteorologists expect the current El Niño to last into the first part of 2016.
El Niño will bring everything from beneficial rain to floods and drought to Latin America.
The long-lasting, warmer-than-average water temperature in the tropical Pacific is the main engine for El Niño. El Niño tends to increase the number tropical systems in the Pacific and in some cases stronger systems, while diminishing the number of systems in the Atlantic. Despite the higher numbers of storms in the Pacific, this does not necessarily imply more landfalls along the western coast of the Mexico mainland.
According to AccuWeather Chief International Meteorologist Jason Nicholls, routine weather patterns are also affected in the Americas.
"During a strong El Niño, as we expect this time, we tend to see a number of extreme weather conditions," Nicholls said. "These conditions can significantly affect agriculture and way of life."
The warm-than-average water produced during an El Niño tends to disturb the marine food chain along the Peruvian coast, which can have a significant effect on the fishing industry in Peru.
The current El Niño is strong and is likely to get even stronger in the coming months.
In some areas, excessive rain can lead to flooding.
"One area of concern for flooding as El Niño strengthens and peaks is from northern Argentina to Uruguay and southern Brazil," Nicholls said.
Incidents of heavy snow will occur in the the southern Andes Mountains.
Meanwhile, enough rain could fall to ease dry conditions for some areas or provide beneficial rain for drought-stricken regions such as Chile.
From now and into the Southern Hemisphere's spring [September], an uptick in systems bringing rain is expected for central Chile.
"There have been sporadic episodes of rain reaching as far north as central Chile during July, but by August we expect more substantial rains in that area," Nicholls said.
Chile has been experiencing drought for about the last 10 years with rainfall less than 50 percent of normal.
According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Anthony Sagliani, "This year's El Niño could rival that of 1997-98, which was one of the strongest on record."
"While El Niño is likely to have a positive impact on the drought, it is not likely to completely break the drought moving forward during the next six to nine months," Sagliani added.
South America Winter Outlook: Needed Rain Returns to Chile; No Drought Relief in Store for Northern Brazil
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Through March 2016 or so, below-average rainfall is forecast from central Brazil to much of the Caribbean islands and southeastern Mexico. These areas can expect drought to develop or get worse.
From September through March, some wet weather is likely to expand southeastward from Mexico into part of the Central America. However, during the expansion of the moisture, the amount of rain will tend to taper off toward Nicaragua and Cuba. While rainfall in these areas will trend toward normal, this translates to rather limited rainfall in the long run.
This will occur as a plume of moisture is directed in from the Pacific, across a large part of Mexico and into the southern United States on a frequent basis to parts of central and southern North America on occasion.
During the Southern Hemisphere's summer [December to March], the dry weather will persist from much of Columbia to central Brazil. Despite the summer season, thunderstorm activity may be very limited over much of the Amazon River basin. Meanwhile, much of Ecuador and northern Peru could turn wet. The area of near-average rainfall will expand farther south, while southern Chile and southern Argentina will tend to stay wet.
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