Chile has received a significant amount of rain this past month. This has reduced rainfall deficits in numerous regions of the country. Nevertheless, Meteorologists warn that despite the current rains, the “super drought” persists.
Since 2003, Chile has seen some of the driest years in recorded history. The lack of rain has left many regions with a serious precipitation deficit, meaning the amount of rain that is in the soil is less than what is needed by the local vegetation.
For the past month, several regions in Chile have experienced several rainy days and a brief respite from the ongoing dry spell. The drought is far from over. Even though several regions have seen their precipitation deficits cut by half, most have yet to cross the threshold into positive numbers.
The Chilean Meteorological Directorate (“MeteoChile”) states that the June through August trimester is vital to determining whether 2020 is registered as another dry year. Speaking with La Tercera, Arnaldo Zúñiga, a meteorologist with MeteoChile, was quick to point out that even though it’s raining now, it was still a dry autumn in comparison to normal years.
He further added “We have to think that last year we had a super drought and before that we had a decade of super drought. The hydrological system, like reservoirs, have memory, which means that its recovery will take a lot of time, and we must take good care of the water.”
Rains Bring Much Needed Relief
The rains have been a source of joy throughout the country as baked riverbeds have sprung back to life with rushing water. The iconic waterfalls of the Radal Siete Tazas National, which stopped running earlier this year, are back along with the Pedernal river in Petorca, which hadn’t had water in it for over 15 years.
Some areas of the country have seen more rainfall than others. While La Serena saw its precipitation deficit drop from 93% to 33%, Punta Arenas only saw a two percent drop, from 22% to 20%. Meanwhile, Coyhaique and the Juan Fernández archipelago are the only areas that are currently above normal levels.
Diego Rivera is currently a senior in University, finishing up his audiovisual degree. You can find him on Twitter as @Piover45.