National Weather Service issues drought notice for NMI

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THE. National Weather Service on Guam issued a notice of drought period for the Northern Mariana Islands on Thursday, emphasizing a “moderate to severe drought across much of Micronesia.”

In a synopsis, the NWS said “a drier-than-normal trade wind pattern has persisted across much of Micronesia the past few months. Although the synoptic pattern has been typical for this time of year and El Nino-Southern Oscillation neutral conditions prevail.”

The NWS states that rainfall has been inadequate for many islands. “A large factor in the drier-than-normal conditions is a persistent area of anomalously warm water near the dateline the past several months. This warmer-than-normal water has encouraged convection near the dateline and suppressed convection farther west over much of Micronesia, especially far western Micronesia.”

The U.S. drought monitor team, regional national weather service offices, and local experts or residents provided the following drought classifications:

• Severe short-term drought for Saipan, Tinian, and the northern NMI.

• Moderate short-term drought for Guam and Rota.

The collaborative group summarized impacts, stating that “shallow wells are drying up or pumping salty or brackish water. Water catchment tanks are low or empty, and crops are stressed. On most impacted islands, coconuts have little to no water or juice inside. Crops are inedible, and deep wells are dry or nearly dry. On larger islands, grass fires start easily and spread quickly when trade winds are elevated.”

The NWS said this is an abbreviated statement that will be updated on March 26 with a quantitative analysis of regional rainfall.

The Office of Homeland and Emergency Management advises to take all necessary precautionary measures at this time, adding that “all outdoor burning activity is not recommended and should be delayed.”

For the latest advisory information, visit the NWS website (, NWS Facebook page (, and/or the CNMI EOC State Warning Point Facebook page (

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