After months of below-normal rainfall, Santiago, Chile, could finally get several days of moderate to heavy rainfall this week.
With months of drier-than-normal conditions, the light rainfall events last week did little to dent the overall drought.
Meanwhile, Santiago is awaiting a pair of storm systems that will arrive this week and could finally help make up some of the rain deficit.
These low pressure systems will move inland over the central Chilean coast, bringing heavy rain and mountain snow with them.
“It’s still too early to know exactly where the heaviest rainfall will occur,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Rob Miller said. “Indications suggest that 25-50 mm (1-2 inches) of rain is expected for central Chile, including Santiago.” Even greater rainfall is possible in some areas which could receive a month’s worth of rainfall in a matter of days.
This amount would be beneficial for drought relief, but there could still be some localized flooding in areas that see the heaviest rainfall.
Even the parched Atacoma region of northern Chile could see some rainfall on Saturday and Sunday. While the heaviest rainfall will remain to the south, as much as 25 mm (1 inch) of rain could fall in Copiapo. This amount of rainfall would be quite impressive as the region generally averages only 25 mm (1 inch) or less of rainfall per year.
One place that will again receive significant precipitation from these storms is the Andes.
The mountains between Santiago and Puerto Montt will receive copious amounts of moisture from these systems. Several inches of moisture will produce a meter (3 feet) or more of snow in the highest terrain.
Following the final push of rain into Chile for the end of next week, the stormy weather will set it sights on north-central Argentina and southern Uruguay from Friday into early next week.
Rounds of rain will enhance the threat for flooding as the hardest hit areas will receive 75-150 mm (3-6 inches) of rain. Areas that could see flooding rainfall include Cordoba, Buenos Aires and Uruguay.
Santiago will likely settle back into a dry pattern following the upcoming rain. Looking back, that has been the trend across the region for the past several winters.
“Santiago hasn’t had above-normal yearly rainfall since 2002,” Miller said. “Some years were near normal, but Santiago has continued to see rainfall well below average since 2006 .”
The extended dry weather has prompted some regions of Chile to contemplate water rationing, according to La Tercera. Executives stated that the rationing would depend on how the weather continues over the next month or so, but that some sort of conservation is likely.