Mexico, Central America, & the Caribbean: Deficits in Belize, surpluses in the Bahamas

18 September 2019

The 12-month forecast ending May 2020 indicates deficits of varying intensity in north-central Mexico, around the southern Gulf of Mexico reaching across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to the Pacific, the eastern Yucatan Peninsula, and along the Pacific Coast from Nayarit to Acapulco.

Deficits could be extreme in central Durango in the north and exceptional in small pockets of Nayarit in the west and Quintana Roo in the Yucatan.

In Central America, moderate deficits are forecast in a band across central Guatemala and in pockets of Honduras and Nicaragua. Moderate surpluses are expected in southeastern Guatemala, the southeastern tip of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and pockets of Panama. Cuba can expect intense deficits in the west and surpluses in the center of the nation. Extreme to exceptional surpluses are forecast for the Bahamas.

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

The forecast through November indicates that deficits in Mexico will shrink and diminish, with normal water conditions returning to the bulk of the nation. Intense deficits will persist, however, around the Gulf of Campeche from the city of Veracruz around the southern shore of the Gulf. Deficits may be severe in a pocket around Merida in the Yucatan, and moderate to severe in the north along the border of Chihuahua and Durango. Moderate surpluses are expected nearby in Sonora between the Yaqui and Bavispe Rivers, and extreme surpluses will re-emerge in northwestern Baja southeast of Tijuana.

In Central America, extreme deficits are expected in southern Belize, and pockets of moderate deficit in central Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Moderate surpluses are forecast east of Guatemala City and in Costa Rica. In the Caribbean, intense surpluses are expected in the Bahamas, central Cuba, and around Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

From December 2019 through February 2020, nearly normal conditions are expected throughout much of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Exceptional deficits are forecast along Mexico’s Pacific Coast around the Gulf of Tehuantepec, but deficits near Veracruz around the Gulf of Campeche will shrink and moderate. Intense deficits are expected in southern El Salvador, and moderate surpluses in Costa Rica and Panama. Surpluses will remain intense in central Cuba and the Bahamas.

The forecast for the final three months – March through May 2020 – indicates that exceptional deficits will emerge in southern Baja; surpluses will diminish in Costa Rica and Panama but will persist in Central Cuba and the Bahamas.

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

The death toll in The Bahamas since the devastating impact of Category 5 Hurricane Dorian this month ranges from 45 as reported by the government to nearly 3,000, reported by local newspapers. The government denies covering up death toll numbers, asserting that finding and supporting survivors are bigger priorities. Local reports, meanwhile, lament a slow official response. The United Nations reported that 70,000 people were in need of food and shelter one week after the storm.

Tropical Storm Ivo killed two people and ravaged several Mexican communities with floods, sinkholes, and hailstorms in late August. The start of the school year was postponed in Ciudad Insurgentes in Baja California Sur, as schools were flooded by heavy rains.

Drought in the Mexican state of Veracruz is reportedly causing a shortage of Mexican limes, spiking prices of the citrus fruits in the U.S. Over 7,500 head of cattle have died in the region, with losses still mounting, and lack of fodder has resulted in thin cows whose ability to reproduce is compromised leaving ranchers with bleak prospect for next year’s herd.

Banana growers in the Dominican Republic are facing drought losses of up to USD $500,000 weekly.

Agricultural losses attributed to drought in Belize have exceeded BZD $2.3 million (USD $1.14 million) this year.

Despite some increase in recent rainfall, Barbados-based Caribbean Drought and Precipitation Monitoring Network reports that long-term drought could continue to cause shortages of groundwater and reduced water levels in large rivers and reservoirs in portions of Belize, the eastern Caribbean, and the Guianas.

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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