Forecasters anticipate weak El Niño in Colombia

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Colombia's meteorological service Ideam expects weak El Niño conditions to develop in the country, including rain deficits.

In its latest forecast, Ideam said El Niño could arrive to Colombia between September and November. The strongest effects of the weather phenomenon are forecast for the first quarter of 2015, during the dry season.

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El Niño is a periodic weather phenomenon that leads to a sharp drop in rainfall in Colombia and Venezuela, but produces increased precipitation in Chile, Argentina and southern Brazil.

"El Niño looks weak, but this does not mean that there will be no impact. The country has to be prepared. Its weakness shouldn't detract us from the fact that the country is vulnerable to its effects," Ideam director Omar Franco Torres said.

Ideam also urged Colombian households to save water to reduce the impact of the drier weather due to hit the country. Several departments have suffered water shortages, with authorities investing extraordinary funds to deliver water to residents.

Neighbor Venezuela, which is experiencing one of its driest spells in 60 years, has already started rationing programs, with various cities going without water for as many as four days a week.