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Expert warns of possible floods in Yucatan this year

by Yucatan Times
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Merida, Yucatan (January 23, 2021).- The risk of flooding in various parts of Mérida and municipalities of Yucatán remains latent in 2021.

According to the UADY hydrology specialist, Juan Vázquez Montalvo, the intense rains registered in 2020 still maintain the level of the aquifer well above its normal average, which represents a risk that it may increase with precipitations provoked by the latest cold fronts.

“We are still well above the average groundwater level. To make it easy and understandable, we are right now like when the tropical storm “Cristóbal” fell. At those levels, because we only reached 3 meters of water height or 3.40 meters, that’s how we are right now ”, he explained.

After the passage of 3 tropical storms and 2 hurricanes over Yucatán, between June and October of last year, there was a fall of rainfall equivalent to 1,500 liters per square meter, which raised the water table or groundwater level to 5.2 meters, causing severe flooding in the north, east and west of the state.

However, since October to date, this level has dropped between 1.5 and 1.8 meters, although it is still high, according to the also head of the Institutional Committee for the Attention of Extreme Meteorological Phenomena (Ciafeme) of the UADY.

He pointed out that by the end of February and the beginning of March there will be another decrease with the onset of the drought, although this would not be significant, so he considered that, with the arrival of the rains, there will still be a large amount of accumulated water in the subsoil, maintaining the risk of an overflow towards residential areas in places like Las Americas or Ciudad Caucel.

“It would not be uncommon for there to be important increases in the water level again if a good rainy season comes. The level that we are going to reach when the rainy season begins will not be optimal, we will be above the normal level as if the rainy season had just ended, of 1.40 or 1.50. But if it rains, the water table will reach a level of 2 or 2.20 meters”, the expert pointed out.

According to the specialist, an active rainy or cyclone season could be enough to create a new flood problem.

Given this situation, he asked the authorities to be aware of the places where there was a notable increase in the water level so that measures can be applied to avoid damage to citizens.

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