Nation swelters in driest year since 19th Century

2nd September 2005, Comments 0 comments

2 September 2005, MADRID — With rainfall dipping below half of normal levels in some regions, 2005 is shaping up as Spain's driest year in more than a century.

2 September 2005

MADRID — With rainfall dipping below half of normal levels in some regions, 2005 is shaping up as Spain's driest year in more than a century.

A top official in the environment ministry, Antonio Serrano, told EFE that based on data for January through August, "one can say with certainty that 2005 is turning out to be the driest year" since 1887.

He did add, however, that the paucity of rainfall does not equate to "the worst drought".

"To talk about drought," he explained, "you must take into account the condition of the soil and accumulated reserves at the beginning of the hydrological year," which begins in October.

Each month of the current hydrological year has been dryer than normal, with January 2005 being the driest month in Spain since records have been kept.

While Spanish authorities have been measuring rainfall since 1887, Serrano said that information suitable for making meaningful comparisons dates only from the 1940s.

Environment minister Cristina Narbona said on Thursday that the Madrid region will have to implement restrictions on water usage beginning next month if September is as dry as forecasters expect it to be.

The Spanish weather bureau predicts rainfall of normal or even below-normal levels over the next three months, but even a normal amount of precipitation would not be sufficient to ease the existing drought conditions.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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