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Optimistic weather prognosis for shrinking lake

Scientists at the University of Guadalajara Institute of Astronomy and Meteorology (IAM) have forecast a delayed but eventually plentiful 2024 rainy season that could bring welcome relief for Lake Chapala.

pg9According to IAM meteorologists Mauricio López Reyes and Julio Zamora Salvador, rainfall accumulation models indicate that the first summer storms will likely occur between June 10 and 12 before slacking off in the latter half of the month. The temporal de lluvias is expected to stabilize during July and August, bringing precipitation that exceeds the historical average.

“The beginning will be very gradual, with very scattered rains starting at the end of this coming week,” López stated.

He said that weather projections point to probable deficits in precipitation for some regions of Jalisco during June, with abundant rainfall anticipated over the next two months that will help boost the recovery of  reservoirs throughout the state.

As of June 1, Lake Chapala dipped to 38 percent of its full holding capacity, down from 53 percent one year ago and 62 percent on that date in 2022.

The lake has been impacted by five years of scant rains and the most extreme drought conditions in the last two decades. The shrinking water line is a sign of what appears to be a crisis similar to those that occurred in the mid-1950s and the first three years of this century.

Lake Chapala typically loses 20 centimeters of its water level per year from extractions to supply metro Guadalajara, and a full meter due to evaporation that peaks during the dry season.

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