Mexico, Central America, & the Caribbean: Water deficits forecast in southern Mexico (August 24, 2016)

The Big Picture
As seen in the 12-month map (below) water deficits are forecast in Mexico for the Baja and Yucatan Peninsulas, and in southern Mexico, especially Guerrero and between the Gulf of Mexico in the Atlantic to the Gulf of Tehuantepec in the Pacific. Deficits are also forecast for Guatemala and western Cuba.

Torrential rains from Tropical Storm Earl left at least 44 people dead in the southern Mexican states of Puebla and Veracruz as a month's worth of rain fell in five hours, turning streets into rivers and triggering fatal landslides.

In southern Chihuahua, Mexico, around 11,000 cows have died since the beginning of the year in the ongoing drought. Livestock producers are electing to de-stock herds they can't afford to feed, and the stock is commanding much lower prices at market.

The latest report from Conagua, Mexico's national water commission, indicates that 75 percent of Baja California remains in drought.

Cuba's Meteorological Institute reports that 33 percent of the country experienced drought in July, with the most significant deficits located in Pinar del Rio, Artemisa, Sancti Spiritus, Ciego de Avila, Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo.

Forecast Breakdown
The 3-month maps (below) for the same time period show the evolving conditions. Deficits on the Baja Peninsula are forecast to diminish in August, then emerge in September and October as widespread deficits of moderate (5 to 10 years) to exceptional (greater than 40 years) severity. Scattered moderate to extreme (20 to 40 years) deficits are forecast for southern Mexico including Veracruz, Tabasco, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Michoacán, and Guerrero. Surpluses are expected in northeastern Sonora, Mexico, northern Costa Rica, and eastern Panama. Deficits are forecast to emerge in Haiti.

Deficits in Baja are forecast to diminish by November, but from November through January moderate deficits will continue to emerge in southern Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Abnormal (3 to 5 years) to moderate deficits are forecast for Honduras and Nicaragua.

A similar pattern is forecast for February through April, in addition to surpluses forecast for Tamaulipas, Mexico.

(It should be noted that forecast skill declines with longer lead times.)


Many analyses reported in ISciences-authored blog posts are based on data generated by the ISciences Water Security Indicator Model (WSIM). Other sources, if used, are referenced in footnotes accompanying individual posts. WSIM is a validated capability that produces monthly reports on current and forecast global freshwater surpluses and deficits with lead times of 1-9 months at 0.5°x0.5° resolution. This capability has been in continuous operation since April 2011 and has proven to provide reliable forecasts of emerging water security concerns in that time-frame. WSIM has the ability to assess the impacts of water anomalies on people, agriculture, and electricity generation. Detailed data, customized visualizations, and reports are available for purchase.

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