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    Severe Drought Settles Over Cuba

    By Rob Miller, Senior Meteorologist
    June 05, 2011, 11:58:38 AM EDT

    The worst drought in more than 50 years has settled across Cuba amid another dry rainy season.

    This drought began in 2008 and continues to worsen as rain continues to be spotty at best. The rain season typically begins in May, but only 1.28 inches of rain fell in Havana during the month of May. The normal amount of rain for the month is nearly 4 inches. Year-to-date, only 3.48 inches has fallen, well below the normal rainfall amount as well.

    Now in its third year, the drought is beginning to take a huge toll on the agriculture across the country.

    Farmers are losing cattle and other livestock as the heat dries up water supplies. The lack of water is also causing major stress to local farms.

    In Havana, the nation's capital and largest city, more than 1 million residents have been affected by the drought, leading officials to institute water restrictions throughout the country.

    The prospect for rain looks good over the next several days, though it will likely not be enough to put enough of dent in the drought.

    A broad area of low pressure continues to spin across the central Caribbean Sea, sending plumes of moisture northeastward. Locally heavy rains haven fallen over Jamaica and Haiti over the past few days, while only spotty showers and thunderstorms have managed to move over southeast Cuba. However, rainfall from these showers and thunderstorms have generally been less than half an inch.

    Forecast path of this low takes the the system into the northwest Caribbean Sea this weekend. This will allow some tropical moisture to move over the country, producing scattered showers and thunderstorms. Daily rainfall totals will average 0.25-0.50 of an inch from these thundershowers, with local amounts near 1 inch. However, not all areas of the country will receive the needed rain.

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