May 5, 2012 Rainfall in Perspective

6 05 2012

Yesterday, Saturday, May 5, 2012 was a very wet day across most, if not all, of Antigua. The wet and thundery weather rolled in during the morning hours, impacting the southern parts of the island first, then the northern. Because the line of weather was quite narrow, it never impacted the whole island at any given time. The wet and thundery weather was quite intense between 10 am and 1 pm, across the northern side of Antigua, during which time 77.0 millimetres (mm) or 3.03 inches of rainfall were dumped on the airport and nearby areas. This resulted in at least moderate flooding in some low-lying and flood prone areas in the northern side of the island. For full radar coverage of the whole event:

Radar Image - May 5, 2012, 11:15am

Radar Image showing heavy rainfall across Antigua on May 5, 2012, 11:15am

It has now turned out that the rainfall for Saturday, May 5, 2012 is the highest total for that day based on available record going back to 1971 for the airport. Also, it was the first time this much rain fell in one day during the first half of the month, and it tied with May 30, 1992 for the fourth highest total for a single day in May.  Further, it is only the fifth time on record that a single day has received more rainfall, during a given year, before May 16. The previous highest total for May 5 was 23.4 mm in 1975.

Yesterday’s rainfall has brought the total for May, at the airport, to 93.5 mm or 3.68 inches. This total is above normal for the month in line with our forecast for the month.  More rainfall is anticipated during the upcoming week and with so much time left in the month. There is a high chance of May having well above normal rainfall.


Top 4 highest one-day totals for May, recorded at the airport (1971 – 2012):

1              178.6 mm or 7.03 inches in 1987

2              148.7 mm or 5.85 inches in 1987

3              85.6 mm or 3.37 inches in 1979

4              77.9 mm or 3.07 inches in 2012

4              77.9 mm or 3.07 inches in 1992


Top 5 highest one-day totals prior to May 16 for the period 1971 – 2012

1              93.9 mm or 3.70 inches in Apr 2010

2              91.7 mm or 3.61 inches in Apr 1990

3              87.6 mm or 3.45 inches in Mar 2002

4              79.3 mm or 3.12 inches in Mar 1985

5              77.9 mm or 3.07 inches in May 2012



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