Severe drought thru May

The National Weather Service in Guam is advising that the severe drought occurring in the Marianas is expected to last the entire month of May.

However, wind flow patterns are expected to slowly change, aiding in the spreading of rain over the region, according to a statement yesterday from the CNMI Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management.

The Commonwealth has seen very low rainfall so far in May, and showers have been spotty and brief.

Rainfall has been abnormally low over the CNMI since January and rainfall will continue to be below normal over the region through May, said HSEM based on a notice it got from NWS.

“The likelihood of the post-El Nino-like dry weather pattern in the Marianas is seen to continue through the month of May,” HSEM said yesterday.

That means fire danger is extreme in the CNMI.

“Specifically for…Saipan, the drawdown of fresh water resources could be a problem in the next few weeks,” the HSEM statement noted.

Health issues such as pink eye and gastrointestinal problems become more common and more serious when water is scarce. Dehydration is also a major problem during droughts.

To prevent fire, HSEM is urging the community to refrain from discarding lit cigarette butts out of car windows and to delay burning green waste or trash outdoors as the spread of wildfire is likely to occur.

HSEM reminds the community that permits are required from the Department of Fire & Emergency Medical Services to burn outdoors and that littering may be punishable by a fine of $25 to $5,000 per offense.

Because of the dry weather conditions notice received from NWS, HSEM is urging the public to conserve water by following these simple steps below for water conservation and safe catchment guidelines:

1. Avoid flushing toilets unnecessarily

2. Avoid letting water run while brushing teeth, shaving, washing your face or when taking showers

3. Avoid pouring water down the drain if it can be used for another purpose, ie.: watering plants

4. Avoid using running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods; defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or use the defrost setting in microwaves

5. Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers (one drop per second wastes 2,700 gallons of water per year)

6. Those with water catchment systems, clean roofs, gutters and catchments, but do not waste catchment water

7. Catchment water should be for drinking only; however, always boil water FIRST before consumption

8. Well water will likely become brackish and should only be used for cooking and washing

9. Again, if you choose to drink catchment and/or well water, always ensure water is boiled FIRST before consumption

During dry weather, also keep in mind your pets and where they are situated. Refrain from tying or restraining dogs or any other personal pets in outdoor areas that do not have shade, to prevent heat exhaustion or suffocation of animals. (Saipan Tribune/PR)

Saipan Tribune
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