19 June 2018

The 12-month forecast ending February 2019 (below) indicates severe to exceptional water deficits in southern Mexico and in Baja California. Primarily moderate deficits are forecast for much of the remainder of the country, but surpluses are expected in northeastern Sonora.

In Central America, moderate to severe deficits are forecast for Guatemala, southern Belize, western Honduras, and El Salvador. Surpluses are forecast in southeastern Nicaragua and in Panama.

In the Caribbean, surpluses are expected in central Cuba and Jamaica. Moderate to severe deficits are forecast for the remainder of Cuba and for Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The 3-month maps (below) show the evolving conditions in more detail.

Apparent in the map series above is a transition away from significant deficits in northwestern Mexico and the emergence of significant deficits in the east and south. In the northwest, intense deficits will, however, persist in Baja California and will emerge in the southernmost tip of Baja California Sur. Widespread extreme to exceptional deficits are expected to emerge in the southern Mexican states of Puebla, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Tabasco, and Chiapas. Deficits only slightly less intense are forecast for a wide band through the central states and in Tamaulipas on the Gulf. Deficits in Tamaulipas may be extreme. Surpluses are forecast to emerge in northeastern Sonora.  

Surpluses in Central America will shrink considerably but persist in eastern Honduras, Nicaragua, and will emerge in Panama. Moderate to extreme deficits are forecast for Guatemala, El Salvador, and western Honduras. In the Caribbean, surpluses are forecast in central Cuba while deficits in the western half of the country moderate and deficits in the east become more intense. Intense deficits are also forecast to emerge in Haiti; deficits in Dominican Republic will be moderate. Both deficits and surpluses are forecast in Jamaica as it transitions away from surplus to deficit.

From September through November conditions in Mexico’s northern half will become nearly normal in many regions, with mild deficits overall and some lingering surpluses in northeastern Sonora. In the southern half, however, intense deficits will dominate, with exceptional deficits in Guerrero, Puebla, and Oaxaca. Moderate deficits on the Yucatan Peninsula will intensify, becoming severe to extreme. Likewise, deficits in Guatemala will increase and become more intense. Severe deficits are forecast in western Honduras, El Salvador, and western Nicaragua. Deficits will emerge in Costa Rica. Severe surpluses are expected to persist in southeastern Nicaragua and in much of Panama. In the Caribbean, deficits will downgrade in Cuba, Haiti, and Dominican Republic, but Jamaica will transition to severe deficits.

The forecast for the final three months – December through February – indicates that deficits in southern Mexico and Central America will downgrade slightly but remain intense; some surpluses are forecast in scattered pockets across northern Mexico and along the Rio Grande.

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

Subtropical Storm Alberto, the first named Atlantic storm of the season, caused heavy flooding late last month in the central and western provinces of Cuba, prompting the evacuation of over 20,000 people as reservoirs overflowed. Seven people drowned, while two others remained missing in early June.

The extreme precipitation, three times more than the historic May median in the province of Pinar del Rio, is in sharp contrast to drought-like conditions of the past three years in Cuba, which is still recovering from last year’s Hurricane Irma. Flooding damaged croplands, collapsed a bridge in Sancti Spíritus, and destroyed dozens of homes. The excessive water overwhelmed the Cienfuegos oil refinery waste ponds, draining oily water into Cienfuegos Bay.

Hurricane Aletta formed off the western coast of Mexico almost four weeks earlier than the average date of the first eastern Pacific hurricane of the season. Within days, the system strengthened to a Category 4 storm before rapidly weakening and dissipating in cooler waters, receiving the more prosaic moniker, Tropical Storm Bud, as it tracked northward along Mexico’s Pacific Coast. 

Mango production in the Mexican state of Sinaloa has dropped over the last three years from 190,000 tons to an estimated 2018 harvest of around 110,000 tons due to ongoing drought. Rain levels in the southern region of the state have been inadequate for maintaining mango trees, leaving orchards in a critical state and producers planning to request assistance from the federal government.

Almost one million residents of Mexico City were left without running water when high demand during a heat wave depleted the city’s water supplies. High winds damaged the power grid, exacerbating the problem. The federal government deployed 390 tanker trucks to distribute water among the 7 affected boroughs three times a day.

There are numerous regions around the world where country borders are contested. ISciences depicts country boundaries on these maps solely to provide some geographic context. The boundaries are nominal, not legal, descriptions of each entity. The use of these boundaries does not imply any judgement on the legal status of any territory, or any endorsement or acceptance of disputed boundaries on the part of ISciences or our data providers.

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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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