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Chile - El Niño forecast for the country

There is a 65% probability that the weak El Niño conditions will continue throughout the winter of the southern hemisphere and a 55% probability they’ll persist in spring.

The monthly forecast of the El Niño phenomenon, which is based on the report submitted by the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) and the International Research Institute for Climate of the University of Columbia, indicates that there is an almost 80% probability that the April-May-June 2019 quarter will be dominated by weak El Niño conditions, and a nearly 55% probability that El Niño conditions will continue during the spring of the southern hemisphere.

However, researchers say that there is no significant relationship between these Pacific warming values, in position 3.4, and the amount of rainfall in the central zone of the country. However, there is a negative and relevant relationship with the rainfall in the highlands. The forecast of the DMC speaks of a dry autumn quarter in most of the country, with maximum temperatures that will be higher than normal and minimum temperatures that will be lower than normal in the center and higher than usual in the extremes. The DMC issued, for the first time, a Sub-Seasonal Forecast or S2S for the month of April, which predicts the possibility of normal to above normal rainfall between the Metropolitan and Maule regions.

The deficit of precipitation continued at the end of the first quarter of 2019, with the exception of the highlands between Arica and Antofagasta, which have a surplus. In the summer season there was a deficit, especially from Chillan to the south. The summer rains were not only below average, they were also almost fifty percent lower than in the summer of 2018. The situation for plants and animals becomes complicated due to the lack of rainfall and consequent evaporation of the water due to the record high temperatures in the country. This has led to a series of recurrent forest fires, especially in the central-south area.

The drought, which had weakened during last spring, remains and has been severe in some sections of the central-southern and austral areas.

In March, the Elqui River was the only river that continued to have the same flow it had in February. The remaining rivers experienced a significant decrease in their flows. All the rivers are close to their minimum. Even the Alicahue, Aconcagua, Cachapoal, Tinguiririca, Teno, Claro, and Maule rivers are below their historical lows.

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