Central Colombia’s heavy rainfall is due to a long summer, said the country’s state-run Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM) on Tuesday, claiming the area could be at risk of mudslides.
IDEAM’s director Ricardo Lozano said that although persistent rainfall is common this time of year, Colombia has been effected by a climate phenomenon known as El Niño, which according to the director has been weaker than usual this year, delaying the end of the dry season.
Colombia’s Caracol Radio reported in an interview with Lozano that after more than two months of almost no rainfall in central Colombia, risks of mudslides are high after an abrupt end to an abnormally long dry spell. Lozano predicts that rainfall in Bogota will persist until the end of November.
El Niño generally occurs every five years in the Pacific resulting in warmer sea level which in turn increases evaporation of sea water and cloud cover. The topography of western and central Colombia also aids spontaneous and heavy rainfall as air from the Pacific passes over the land, rising and cooling, quickly resulting in severe rain.
Airports across the area were closed due to fears of storms posing a safety risk, whilst the closure of airports in Bogota affected the travel plans of more than 4,000 passengers on Monday travelling for the holiday day.