Devastating El Nino to die down by end of June

By    May 9, 2016 | 05:17 pm PT
Devastating El Nino to die down by end of June
A farmer shows dead fish and dead shrimp on his shrimp farm in Mekong Delta's Bac Lieu province, Vietnam March 30, 2016. Picture taken on March 30, 2016. Photo by REUTERS/Kham
The El Nino phenomenon is forecast to lose the deadly ferocity it has displayed this year by the end of June, and Vietnam is expecting normal weather patterns to return, said the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.

El Nino is predicted to have reached its peak and be over by the end of next month, said the center, adding that Vietnam is not expecting to face a strong La Nina.

El Nino and La Nina are complex weather patterns resulting from variations in ocean temperatures in the Pacific Ocean which contribute to changes in weather patterns across the Pacific, said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States.

For Vietnam, which is situated in the Southeast Asian monsoon zone, El Nino normally results in drier and hotter weather conditions than usual, while La Nina often brings more rain to the region.

The rain pattern in Vietnam is expected to return to normal in September and October, and may even be 5-15 percent higher than the average level after the record drought that has ravaged the country as a result of El Nino in the past few months.

Currently, precipitation in central provinces is 50 percent lower than the average level, while it is 40 percent lower in the central highland and southern areas.

The south-central coastal provinces of Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan will continue to experience significantly less precipitation and prolonged drought through September.

Meteorology experts said that it is unlikely that following El Nino, a powerful La Nina will arrive and increase the chance of flooding.

It is forecast that in the next few months of the dry season, rivers in the central and central highland areas will drop further with average water levels 30-60 percent lower than in previous years.

The center also forecasts a very low chance of flooding later on this year, so lower sections of many rivers may fall to record lows.

The worst drought and severe salinity in almost 100 years have badly damaged Vietnam.

For the first time the country has called on the international community to support a $48.5 million emergency response plan to address the worsening drought.

The long drought, accompanied by a decrease in groundwater levels, has resulted in the most extensive saltwater intrusion in 90 years in the Mekong Delta. The severe salinity may soon spread to central coastal provinces.

The 2014 – 2016 El Nino, which has lasted about 20 months, is said to be the most severe in history.

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