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Drought Update for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands: November 5, 2020

Document Author
NOAA/NIDIS, National Weather Service, USDA Caribbean Climate Hub, University of Virgin Islands
Document Date
Document Type
Drought Status Update
Document Description

No widespread drought impacts are expected across Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands through the end of the year. The seasonal forecast continues to suggest normal to above normal rainfall. 

This Drought Update is issued in partnership between the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the University of the Virgin Islands. The purpose of the update is to communicate a potential area of concern for drought expansion and/or development within Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands based on recent conditions and the upcoming three month forecast. 

NIDIS and its partners will issue these updates every two months via email and on Subscribe for these U.S. Caribbean drought updates here.

Key Points 

  • Puerto Rico Conditions: Drought conditions remained relatively unchanged over Puerto Rico with around 17% of the island classified as Abnormally Dry (D0). 
  • U.S. Virgin Islands Conditions: Additional improvements have occurred across the U.S. Virgin Islands. Saint Thomas, Saint John and Saint Croix now have no drought classification.
  • Puerto Rico Impacts: Recent rains have helped improve conditions from a relatively dry spring and summer along the south coast. Streamflows running at normal to above normal across Puerto Rico. Early summer drought along Puerto Rico’s south coast affected plantains, bananas, fruit and vegetable production but fall rains have improved conditions. High temperatures from August through October reduced milk production with cows experiencing heat stress.
  • U.S. Virgin Islands Impacts: Ponds used by farmers are filling; household cisterns are filling up, leading to the need for less water purchases by residents; and agricultural businesses are slowly bouncing back. Farmers on St John report that crops are continuing to rebound and conditions are improving as they move into the rainy season. Planning is now underway for the upcoming rainy season. 
  • Region-wide: Recent rains, high relative humidity, and moderate winds have improved forest moisture conditions and fire danger remains low throughout the region.
  • Looking Ahead: Widespread drought expansion is not expected across the local islands at this time. The seasonal forecast continues to suggest normal to above normal rainfall through the end of the year. 
  • For weather and storm information specific to your area, please monitor products issued by the National Weather Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico and the National Hurricane Center.

Prepared By

Odalys Martinez
Senior Service Hydrologist, NWS Weather Forecast Office San Juan

Meredith Muth
NOAA/National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)

William Gould, Nora Alvarez, and Eva Holupchinski
USDA Caribbean Climate Hub, USFS International Institute of Tropical Forestry

Christina Chanes, Gregory Guannel
University of Virgin Islands

Victor Murphy
Climate Services Program Manager, National Weather Service Southern Region

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    Preview of the Email Drought Update for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands