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Low rainfall accumulation since May in Honduras, Nicaragua, and Haiti

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • June 18, 2014
Low rainfall accumulation since May in Honduras, Nicaragua, and Haiti

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  • Key Messages
  • Seasonal Progress
  • Forecast
  • Key Messages
    • Rainfall in parts of Honduras, Nicaragua, and Haiti has been below average since May up to the first 10 days of June.

    • Above-average rainfall since late May has led to high moisture surpluses across Guatemala, increasing river levels and the potential for flooding and landslides.

    • Low and erratic rainfall totals and distribution are forecast for the upcoming weeks. This could affect the start of the Primera season in Nicaragua and Honduras, particularly in the dry corridor. This could negatively impact crop yields at the end of the season in late August and September.


    Seasonal Progress

    Rainfall delays of 10 - 15 days in late May and early June have been observed in the start of the Primera season in the dry corridor of Nicaragua, including the departments of Nueva Segovia, Estelí, Matagalpa, Jinotega, Boaco and Managua (Figure 1). The increase in rainfall over the past week was insufficient to reduce rainfall deficits reported since May. This could affect the normal start of the Primera season in Nicaragua and reduce the likelihood of a successful harvest.

    Below-average rainfall continued in almost all of Nicaragua and parts of Honduras during the first 10 days of June (Figure 2). The most severely impacted area is the dry corridor comprising areas bordering Honduras and the departments of Chinandega, Madriz and Nueva Segovia, and Estelí.  Poor rainfall could prevent some farmers from planting and/or damage crops that have been planted.  If rains do not start by the third week of June, farmers may not sow maize in the affected areas. Honduras has significant rainfall deficits in the departments of Olancho and Colón, although to date crop damages have not been reported.

    In contrast, cumulative rainfall has been above average in Guatemala and El Salvador, supporting normal crop development for the Primera season in the Pacific basin; however, the high soil moisture has increased river levels, triggering floods in both countries. No significant damages and losses have been reported for grain crops to date.

    In June, rainfall has steadily decreased in parts of Haiti, which is particularly affecting the departments of Centre, Artibonite, the southern peninsula, and the Nord-Est. Crops in these areas could be affected by continuous erratic and poorly distributed rainfall (Figure 2).


    Forecast

    Near-average rainfall is expected across Central America and Haiti for the upcoming two-week total precipitation (mm), from June 17 – July 1, 2014
    (Figure 3).

    However, high soil moisture in Guatemala has increased the risk of landslides in high elevation areas and floods in the boundaries of rivers in the Pacific basin. In Retalhuleu department, there is also the risk of lahars and overflowing rivers (Nima 1 and Nima 2) due the accumulation of pyroclastic materials by the recent eruptive activity of Santiaguito Volcano. These events have the potential to damage crops and infrastructure.

    Dryness in parts of Nicaragua, Honduras and Haiti is not expected to change in the upcoming weeks.

    Figures Figure 1. Onset of Rains (SOS) Anomaly Map, June 5-10, 2014

    Figure 1

    Figure 1. Onset of Rains (SOS) Anomaly Map, June 5-10, 2014

    Source: USGS/FEWSNET

    Figure 2. Total Normal Rainfall (%) June 10, 2014

    Figure 2

    Figure 2. Total Normal Rainfall (%) June 10, 2014

    Source: USGS/FEWSNET

    Figure 3. Two week total precipitation (mm), from June 17 –  July 1, 2014

    Figure 3

    Figure 3. Two week total precipitation (mm), from June 17 – July 1, 2014

    Source: NOAA

    FEWS NET’s Seasonal Monitor reports are produced for Central America and the Caribbean, West Africa, East Africa, Central Asia, and Somalia every 10-to-30 days during the region’s respective rainy season(s). Seasonal Monitors report updates on weather events (e.g., rainfall patterns) and associated impacts on ground conditions (e.g., cropping conditions, pasture and water availability), as well as the short-term rainfall forecast. Find more remote sensing information here.

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