November 23, 2020

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Severe Drought Increasing for Puerto Rico



The drought pattern that affects more than 70 percent of the island for more than two months now remains the same, although with a slight increase compared to last week, according to the United States Drought Monitor.

The agency established in its most recent report that 17.64% of the island remains under atypically dry conditions, 33.73% under moderate drought, and 26.11% under severe drought. The most evident change was in the category of severe drought, which increased three percentage points compared to last week.

The meteorologist of the National Meteorological Service Gabriel Lojero explained that, in general, there were no positive changes for the island, but, in fact, the report establishes that the local area continues to suffer from the absence of precipitation, which is why both reservoirs and many rivers around the island have registered a decrease in their water levels.

“The changes are very minimal. Everything really remains similar to last week. Maybe some areas increased, but it follows the same dry pattern, so there is no notable difference,” said the expert.

The category of atypically dry conditions means that the area in question has a water deficit and that the dryness that affects it stops or slows down the cultivation of food or grassland. In the case of the moderate drought category, it is established that areas under this classification will be identified when some grasslands are damaged, the water sources or reservoirs are low or the measured use of water is required due to the lack of rain.

While severe drought means that the area in question could lose crops or pastures, the reported water shortages will force restrictions on water service due to lack of precipitation.

“Furthermore, water deficits continue to increase for lack of rain. Right now the interior of this country has a deficit of between eight to 12 inches. That is why Carraízo has seen a very abrupt decrease in recent months. That is a lot “Lojero said.

Other sectors of the country like the towns of Trujillo Alto, Canóvanas, and Loíza have a rainfall deficit between 12 to 16 inches.

The term rainfall deficit refers to the amount of precipitation that an area does not receive in a determined time that and in the case of Puerto Rico, exceeds 60 days.

The basin of the Carraízo reservoir, which from yesterday to today was spared from registering a decrease in its level for the first time in two weeks, is among the towns that are under severe to moderate drought.

“For Carraízo to increase its level, an episode of rain must come, preferably a vigorous tropical wave, leaving more than four inches of water. Only in this way can the reservoir fill up and produce runoffs that combine and reach the reservoir so that its level increases “said Lojero.

He anticipated that tomorrow a tropical wave will arrive that has the capacity to leave rain on the east and this interior, the reason why it is possible that the reservoir will gain water, but “it will be necessary to wait if the downpours materialize.”

Already from Saturday dry conditions arrived and it will not be until Monday that the conditions of time they become more humid until week measurements when a tropical wave leaves other episodes of rain on the island.

According to meteorological models, this will maintain the weather pattern until August, with the proximity of the peak of the hurricane season, the tropical disturbances that these rains may generate will arrive.

The Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (AAA) reported today that the Carraízo reservoir has 37. 63 meters of water, which keeps it at the level of operational adjustments, and only 43 centimeters from the control level.

In addition, five of the rest of the 10 reservoirs on the island remain at the observation level: Cidra, Patillas, Toa Vaca, Carite and Guajataca.

The AAA reported that the Cidra reservoir today has 401.16 meters of water, which places it 16 centimeters from entering the category of operational adjustments. Meanwhile, the Patillas reservoir is 61.90 meters, Toca Vaca has 147.63, Carite 541.90 and Guajataca 193.61 meters of water.

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