As wildfires scorch the countryside, Colombia’s environmental agency IDEAM predicts soaring temperatures around the country at the end of February and throughout March.
Some 24 departments around Colombia have been put on alert for the impact of the El Niño phenomenon, fires have incinerated almost 30,000 hectares of forest and major rivers are at critical lows, but the worst may be yet to come.
IDEAM Director Ricardo Lozano predicts “temperatures far above the average, especially affecting departments such as Valle del Cauca, Tolima, Huila, Santander and Valledupar as well the coffee region, the eastern plains and the Caribbean region,” with some areas expected to record highs of over 40 degrees.
Lozano said the El Niño phenomenon, which affects weather patterns, will be present in the Pacific Ocean until June, but will impact Colombia’s weather until May.
The director added that rains are expected in April but may provide below average falls, so it remains vital for the energy and environment sector to continue with contingency plans and conserve water use.
IDEAM warned in August that Colombia is one of the countries of the world hardest hit by the El Niño and La Niña phenomenons, as it is located in an area of direct influence of the warming of Pacific waters.