Colombia has officially declared the presence of the El Niño phenomenon as the country gears up for soaring temperatures and a looming drought. The Colombian Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology, and Environmental Studies (IDEAM) made the declaration after confirming that all key criteria had been met.
Despite recent heavy rains and electrical storms throughout the interior of the country, including the capital Bogotá, experts warn that Colombia is on the brink of experiencing one of the hottest year-end periods in its history, and caused by the impending El Niño weather phenomenon. This meteorological event is expected to exert its influence starting early December, impacting daily life and agriculture across the nation.
The declaration by IDEAM comes with monitoring of Pacific Ocean temperatures, which revealed values exceeding 0.5°C for five consecutive quarters. Colombia’s Minister of Environment, Susana Muhamad, issued a stern warning, emphasizing the importance of preparedness for the potential effects of El Niño.
“According to IDEAM, and international meteorological institutions, we’ve now reached the fifth consecutive quarter with Pacific Ocean temperature anomalies. This signifies that the El Niño phenomenon has matured and can be officially declared in Colombia. El Niño is a serious matter. Get ready and take action,” stated Muhamad.
While Colombia has witnessed recent rainfall due to tropical cyclones in the Caribbean and Andean regions, as well as cooler temperatures in the morning and at night, the IDEAM’s Ghisliane Echeverry noted “that during November, a substantial portion of the country will experience a rainy season due to current conditions. However, despite the intensity of precipitation, the average remains below historical records, and we are observing an upward trend in temperatures.”
The El Niño dry season is forecast to extend well into 2024, possibly leading to a lowering of water levels in hydroelectric reservoirs. An extended El Niño could also strain the nation’s electrical grid, resulting in blackouts or energy rationing. Water conservation and crop irrigation measures are essential during these dry spells. Authorities recommend that households begin to conserve water by taking shorter showers, using buckets instead of hoses for vehicle and garage cleaning, and refrain from lighting campfires given that El Niño is often accompanied by strong dry winds.
In case of emergencies or fire incidents, the public is urged to contact the appropriate authorities promptly through the following hotline numbers: Red Cross (132), Civil Defense (144), Firefighters (119), National Police (123), and report road conditions at #767.
Source: The City Paper