Some rain but also continued drought in US Pacific

Drought conditions show some improvement across much of the US-affiliated Pasific Islands, but some areas are still struggling.

In an update late last week, the US National Weather Service said trade wind disturbances have brought much-needed rainfall to areas of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the southern islands of the Marshalls, and to Palau.

But Yap Proper and Ulithi in the FSM remained in exceptional drought, while several other areas remained in extreme drought, including Wotje and its nearby islands and atolls in the Marshall Islands, and Saipan and Tinian in the Northern Marianas.

Agricultural strain has been reported from assessment teams and residents from islands across Yap State, including taro patches drying up and coconuts drying out, and many reports of yellowing crops.

Wildfires have been reported on Saipan and Guam, with fires also reported in Palau and Yap over the month.

In its Drought Information Statement dated 10 May, the Weather Service said locations with extreme to exceptional drought could see at least another month of below-normal rainfall.

“Water catchment levels are low or nearly empty on some islands. Water shortages for communities are still occurring,” the report said.

“Wetter than normal conditions during the last 30 days [to May 8] remain generally south of 8N to near the equator.”

The seasonal three-month rainfall outlook said the rainfall forecast through July remains drier than normal for islands near and north of 9N latitude; and wetter

than normal to the south.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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