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Long-Awaited Rain For Santiago By The Weekend

In what has been a very dry and warm winter for Chile, some relief is likely to come for the end of the week and into the weekend.

Santiago, Chile, with being in the Southern Hemisphere, is normally dry during the time from October through April, but this year has been exceptionally dry.

Santiago has only seen 0.01 of an inch (0.3 mm) of rain since October 1. This compares to a normal rainfall amount of 48.7 mm of rain for the same time.

This lack of rain has already caused some issues with crops and also some problems with wildfires. Just last week, the port city of Valparaiso, just to the west of Santiago, saw thousands of people left homeless due to the rapidly spreading fire.

This recent lack of rain does look to come to a welcome end though, as a powerful storm off to the south and west will move onshore in southern Chile Thursday, and eventually push far enough into Chile to bring rain to Santiago.

Rainfall looks to be under 1 inch (25.4 mm) of rain, but any rainfall will be welcomed from the drought that is currently in place. Even looking back over the past year, the dry conditions have dominated with only 30 percent of normal rainfall occurring.

Volcanoes in Atacama Desert, Chile, courtesy of Thinkstock.com

With this rainfall for the end of the week, we could see a trend growing towards more rain for the area. El Nino is looking to setup over the waters of the Pacific. During such a pattern, wetter than normal weather comes into Chile, which has seen a lack of rainfall for nearly five years now.

Chile also has seen problems with power production, as hydroelectric power supplies nine out of every 10 residents in central Chile. The lack of rain has forced many to rely on more expensive fossil fuels, according to Reuters. But this change in pattern could yield some needed rain.

According to the Chilean Weather Service, 2004-2013 was the driest 10 year period in the last 150 years. Chile is also home to the driest desert in the world, the Atacama Desert.

Story by AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Alan Reppert