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South America summer forecast: Rain to ease drought in northern Brazil; Heat to scorch Argentina, Chile

The changing of the seasons will bring beneficial rainfall to northern Brazil, a region that has experienced severe drought over the past several years.

Meanwhile, summer heat will scorch parts of Chile and Argentina as temperatures soar into the 40s C (100s F).

JUMP TO: Drought relief on the way for northern Brazil| Summer heat to stretch from Colombia to Argentina | Dry, hot summer to worsen drought in Chile

Drought relief on the way for northern Brazil

Last year's strong El Niño promoted drier-than-normal conditions across northern Brazil, causing the severe drought affecting the region to worsen.

El Niño occurs when water temperatures are above normal near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, affecting the weather pattern around the globe.

This year is expected to unfold much differently now that El Niño has come to an end, allowing showers and thunderstorms to bring beneficial rain to most of Brazil.

"Now that the strong El Niño has ended, conditions should favor more rain and some drought relief in northern and central Brazil," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls said.

This is good news for croplands from Minas Gerias to Mato Grosso that typically receive most of their yearly rainfall during the summer months.

These areas are responsible for growing important crops such as grains, soy beans and cotton.

Rain is also expected to reach into parts of drought-stricken Venezuela and Colombia.

While rain and thunderstorms make their way into northern Brazil this summer, conditions are expected to turn drier than normal in far eastern Brazil. This includes the cities of Salvador, Recife and Fortaleza.

Despite the prospect of a wet summer, this season alone will not bring an end to the drought across Brazil.

"There will likely be better rains in northeastern Brazil this summer as compared to last summer, but it just doesn't look like enough to improve the long-term drought significantly," Nicholls said.

Summer heat to stretch from Colombia to Argentina

Typical summer warmth is forecast to build over much of South America this season with the hottest conditions focusing on parts of Argentina.

"There will be stretches with highs in the lower 30s C to 40 C (90s to low 100s F) in central Argentina," Nicholls said.

Stifling summer heat will occasionally be interrupted by the passage of cold fronts, bringing a temporary drop in temperature as well as the opportunity for showers and thunderstorms.

Some of the thunderstorms may turn severe with damaging winds and downpours that could lead to localized flooding.

Showers and thunderstorms are also in the forecast this summer across Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay, with many areas in these countries getting near-normal rainfall.

These showers and thunderstorms will also boost humidity levels, causing AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures to climb shortly after a storm passes through.

A youth balances on a wooden crate outside his flooded home in Concordia, Argentina, Monday, Dec. 28, 2015. The flooding, caused by heavy rains and bulging rivers, come at the beginning of the Southern Hemisphere's summer months. That means that evacuees are also dealing with heat, mosquitoes and snakes. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Dry, hot summer to worsen drought in Chile

Similar to last summer, the upcoming season is expected to bring predominantly hot and dry weather to Chile.

According to Nicholls, areas in central Chile will have several stretches of time when highs will exceed the upper 30s C (80s F), including in capital city of Santiago.

While hot and dry weather is typical of Chile during the summertime, it may be problematic this year.

Chile is emerging from a wet season that yielded little rainfall, so additional heat and dryness may worsen drought conditions.

"Overall, most of Chile had 50 percent or less of normal rainfall during their rainy season from May through October," Nicholls said.

Summer is the typical dry time of year for much of Chile, so little drought relief is expected.

If any rain does fall this season, Nicholls believes that it is most likely to occur later in the summer after the start of 2017.


Questions or comments? Email Brian Lada at Brian.Lada@accuweather.com and be sure to follow him on Twitter!

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