Severe drought to continue through May in CNMI

10:08 am on 17 May 2019

CNMI residents are being warned that severe to exceptional drought is expected to continue through May and are urged to conserve water.

10922296 - wheat in drought field

Photo: 123rf

National Weather Service, out of Tiyan, Guam, has advised the likelihood of the post-El Niño-like dry weather pattern in the Marianas continuing through the month of May 2019.

Wind flow patterns, however, are expected to slowly change, aiding in the spreading of rainfall over the region.

The Commonwealth has seen very low rainfall so far in May, and showers have been spotty and brief. Rainfall has been abnormally low over the CNMI since January and rainfall will continue to be below normal over the region through May.

The unusually dry weather has also resulted in a rise in brush fires on the islands. Earlier this week, an elementary school on Saipan was evacuated twice due to smoke from a nearby brush fire.

Local officials also said continued drought conditions is also making the drawing down of fresh water resources a potential problem in the next few weeks.

When water is scarce, health issues such as pink eye and gastro-intestinal problems become more common and more serious. Dehydration is a major problem during drought periods.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs