Wednesday, May 24, 2017

2017 South America winter forecast: Drought to worry Colombia, Venezuela; Frequent storms to strike Chile, Argentina

By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer
May 24,2017, 8:51:40AM,EDT
Drought may continue to grip portions of Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil this winter.
Meanwhile, warm waters in the Pacific Ocean will help to spread rain across much of the western countries of South America.
South America winter 2017 1

Argentina to face more rain, mountain snow than last winter
Rounds of rain will frequent Argentina this winter as storm systems move across the country on a regular basis.
“More storms are expected across central Argentina this year versus last year with near- to slightly above-normal rainfall in cities such as Buenos Aires,” AccuWeather Lead International Meteorologist Jason Nicholls said.
These storm systems will also bring plentiful snowfall to the Andes which could allow some ski resorts to open earlier than normal.
The early and middle part of the winter will be the most active with rain and mountain snow before drier and warmer conditions build over the region.
This active period could also bring shots of cold air, resulting in some frost and freezes in northern Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and eastern Bolivia.
“These cold shots should tend to be short-lived, and as a result, many of these areas will be warmer than normal, but perhaps near to slightly cooler than in Paraguay," Nicholls said.
Drought concerns to return to Colombia, Venezuela
Drought has plagued Colombia and Venezuela in recent years, and this winter will bring little relief to the countries.
“Drought concerns will return along the Caribbean coast of the continent from northern Colombia and Venezuela to French Guiana,” Nicholls said.
Northeastern Brazil has also experienced drought over the past several years, but this area may have improved conditions this winter as rain brings some relief to the region.
Warm waters off the coast of Brazil may keep drought conditions from returning to far northeastern Brazil, Nicholls said.
Not all of Brazil will be drought-free, however, as a drier-than-normal weather pattern sets up farther south, including São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
While winter is not typically a wet time of year, drought conditions could develop in the Brazilian states of São Paulo to Minas Gerias, Nicholls said.
Wet winter on tap from Chile to Peru
Frequent storms will bring rounds of rain and mountain snow to Chile this winter with the tracks of the storms shifting as the season progresses.
The combination of warm waters off the coast and a developing El Niño will help to fuel storms as they move into Chile. Some of the wettest weather will focus on central Chile, which includes Santiago.
The rain brought by the storms will be beneficial as this past summer spawned some of the worst wildfires in Chile’s history, scorching hundreds of thousands of acres.
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Much of the rain and mountain snow is forecast to fall during the first half of the winter before storms begin to take a more southerly track.
“The focus of the wet weather can shift south of Santiago late in the season with the possibility of drier-than-normal conditions for a time later in July or August,“ Nicholls said.
Wetter conditions are predicted farther north with rain frequenting the western reaches of the continent.
“The warm waters over the Pacific Ocean will lead to wetter-than-normal conditions from Ecuador and Peru into Bolivia,” Nicholls said.
This could lead to a heightened risk of flooding across the region, especially in Peru where historic flooding wreaked havoc during autumn.

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