Wettest Day of the Year to Date

28 09 2014

Dale C. S. Destin |

WettestDayOf2014Last Friday – September 26, 2014 is easily the wettest day of the year thus far at V. C. Bird International Airport located in Coolidge, Antigua. Last Friday, a low pressure system aloft dumped in excess of 30 mm on many parts of Antigua. At the V. C. Bird International Airport, where the Met Office is located, 30.4 mm were record for the day of which 26.6 mm fell within an hour and a half.

Rainfall data at the Airport shows that this was by far the wettest day for the year with the previous wettest being May 10 with 21.3 mm. The 30.4 mm is more than the total rainfall recorded, at the Airport, for February, March, June and July.

On average, September produces one day with rainfall total of one inch (25.4 mm) or more. Thus, in terms of daily rainfall accumulations, this is not unusual. However, although hourly rainfall totals are not available for the Airport, 26.6 mm in less than 1.5 hours seems extreme, based on experience.

Figures thus far for the year up to September 28 show there has been only one day with an inch or more of rain at the Airport. We would expect five days with an inch or more by this point. Annually, there are 8 days with an inch or more of rain. The record wettest day at the Airport is November 19, 1999 with 241.8 mm, caused by the unforgettable Hurricane Lenny.

Top3WettestDaysFor2014Since the first 15 days of September, which yielded a meagre 16.3 mm of rain at the Airport, the 6th driest start to the month on record, there has been 67.0 mm. This is 9.7 mm more than the average for the second half of the month.

The rainfall event of September 26 has put, at most, a small dent into the drought. However, the total for the month will likely end up below normal and the rainfall deficit from the start of the drought will increase further. At this point, a further seven inches or so of rain is required to end the drought, at least from a meteorological standpoint. In the short term, water conservation cannot be over emphasised, but in the long run, bold and innovative water resource management strategies are required to address our water insecurity.

The Sixth Driest Start to September

20 09 2014

Dale C. S. Destin |

After encouraging rainfall for August, September has been quite disappointing, thus far. The first half of September has been severely dry across much of Antigua according to preliminary statistics at the Antigua and Barbuda Met Service.

Figures up to September 15 show there has been 16.3 mm of rain at the Met Office located at the V. C. Bird International Airport. This is only 12.4% of the September average of 131.6 mm. We would expect about 57% or 74.6 mm of the month’s rainfall to have fallen by this point.


SixDriestFirstHalfOfSeptThis makes this first half of September the sixth driest at the Airport based on available records dating back to 1960. Apart from the first half of September of 2012 which yielded just 2.3 mm, no other such first half has been drier since 1990.

The low rainfall figures appear to be due mainly to the pressure across the North Atlantic being higher than normal or a positive North Atlantic Oscillation. This translated into a persistently stable and relatively dry atmosphere, and hence minimal rainfall.

While these figures are interesting, they don’t tell us where the month will end up overall. A few days of wet weather, which we are hoping for, could drastically alter the statistics. So we’ll have to wait for the full-month figures before making any judgements.

While there is no dramatic rainfall expected, several weather models are indicating healthy probabilities for showers over the next several days, particularly Sunday-Monday when the next tropical waves is expected in the area. However, models also are forecasting the NAO to remain positive. Thus, the total for the second half of the month could be similar to that of the first half.

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Hugo – 25 Years Ago!

18 09 2014

Twenty-five years ago, to the today, we were busy picking up the pieces in the wake of Hurricane Hugo, one of the most powerful hurricanes to affect Antigua. Click here for more.

Updated Hurricane Season Forecast

1 09 2014

Dale C. S. Destin |

The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season could turn out to be even quieter than initially predicted. Thus far, there have only been three named storms, incidentally, all of which developed into hurricanes (Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal). However, for a normal season, by the end of August, there are usually five named storms already formed.

The consensus forecast, based on predictions of the hurricane season issued after early June, is for nine named storms, five hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes i.e. hurricanes with winds of 111 mph and greater. Additionally, the updated forecast Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index, which measures the combine strength and duration of tropical storms and hurricanes, is 66.7. This would be the fourth lowest since 1995 and about 35.5% below the average of 103.5.

2014 Hurricane Season Updated Consensus Forecast.

2014 Hurricane Season Updated Consensus Forecast. (Credit Dale C. S. Destin)

The initial consensus forecast called for 10 named storms of which five were expected to become hurricanes and two major hurricanes.  Further, the consensus was for an ACE index of around 72. The ACE index as of the end of August was 19.7, about 19% of the average.

The peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is September 10; however, the peak for Antigua and the northeast Caribbean is August 21 and September 3 with a secondary peak on September 10. It certainly looks like we will safely see off the peak as there is nothing threatening between us and Africa at the moment.

Notwithstanding the slow nature of the season, please stay on guard, only half of the season has passed and it only takes one hurricane to ruin your year.

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