Flash Flooding in Peru

Flash Flooding in Peru

Since January 1st, Peru has received about 10 times the amount of rainfall they normally receive in the same time period. This has lead to devastating flash flooding and landslide occurring in the country. While this time of year, southern hemisphere summer, is normally very wet for Peru, they were not expecting anything like this to occur as they are coming off of a harsh drought. With a month left to go in the rainy season it appears Peru could be in for some more devastating rainfall before anything gets better. The flash flooding in Peru has had one good effect, it has lead to the country having more green foliage then it did this time in 2015. Check out these images comparing the look from satellite imagery:

Much of Peru is show as brown in this image of Peru.
March 7th, 2015
Much of Peru is show as green in this image of Peru.
February 21st, 2017

What is causing all this rain?

Ocean Temperature Anomaly of Peru

Image Credit: NOAA Climate 

From the image we can that the ocean bordering Peru is experiencing an almost 5ºC increase in ocean temperature from normal. This causes the air above the water to be much warmer than normal and thus hold more water than normal. This is due to the fact warm air holds more water than cold air. This is similar to an El Niño, in fact the 5ºC departure is stronger than the 2015-2016 El Niño. In fact, the Peruvian government has declared a costal El Niño (not to be confused with a full blown El Niño).

The good news for Peru is that winter is approaching. The decrease in daylight time should allow the ocean temperatures to drop slightly. However, the El Niño pattern is expected to continue. This should allow the moisture to keep lowing into Peru and provide more opportunities for significant rainfall over Peru.

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