The National Weather Service in Tiyan, Guam, issued yesterday an advisory that warns of moderate to severe drought that will soon occur across much of Micronesia.
“A drier than normal trade-wind pattern has persisted across much of Micronesia the past few months. Although the synoptic pattern has been typical for this time of year and ENSO neutral conditions prevail, rainfall has been inadequate for many islands,” the advisory states.
A large factor in the drier than normal conditions is a persistent area of anomalously warm water near the dateline the past several months, NWS said. This warmer than normal water has encouraged convection near the dateline and suppressed convection farther west over much of Micronesia, especially far western Micronesia.
The following drought classifications were a collaboration between the U.S. Drought Monitor team, regional National Weather Service offices and local experts/residents:
Severe short-term drought on Saipan, Tinian, and the northern CNMI;
Moderate short-term drought in Guam and on Rota.
According to the NWS advisory, shallow wells will be drying up or pumping salty or brackish water. Water catchment tanks will be low or empty and crops will be stressed. On the most impacted islands, coconuts will have little to no water or juice inside. Crops will be inedible and deep wells will be dry or nearly dry. On larger islands, grass fires will start easily and spread quickly when trade winds are elevated.
NWS said that this is an abbreviated statement and will be updated on March 26, with a quantitative analysis of regional rainfall.
The office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management advises the public to take all necessary precautionary measures at this time. All outdoor burning activity is not recommended and should be delayed. (PR)