RMI drought intensifies

A drought announcement was issued Friday by US Weather officials, describing increasingly dry conditions to be expected in the Marshall Islands, Palau and Yap as a result of one of the worst El Niño’s to hit the Pacific in recent times.

Parts of the Marshall Islands are already into a period of “moderate to severe drought conditions,” which the weather notice put at a “Level two of four levels.”

Weather conditions now prevailing in this part of the Pacific were described by the Weather announcement as “one of the strongest El Niño’s in history…ongoing El Niño conditions remain in place.”

“Analysis of this El Niño event coupled with climate model projections indicate with high confidence that the El Niño pattern will likely persist through the first few months of 2016, then weaken to neutral by the summer months.”

This is usually the cause of increasingly dry conditions across Micronesia, the report said.

“Rainfall patterns will be irregular during the coming weeks and below normal rainfall is expected until later in the year,” Weather officials said. “There could be a slightly wet month or two from now through Spring 2016 (May), but overall conditions will be drier than normal as 2016 progresses.”

Rainfall data for Majuro, Kwajalein and Wotje shows rain conditions have already been well below normal starting last month for Kwajalein and Wotje, and since November for Majuro.

Read more about this in the January 15, 2016 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.