Record Warm February Nights Contribute to Record-Tying First Third Night-Time Heat Across Antigua

27 05 2016

Dale C. S. Destin |

Although the mean air temperature for the first third of the year – January to April, was near normal, night-time temperatures, as expressed by the mean minimum temperature, were at record-tying levels across much of Antigua.

For the first third, at the V. C. Bird International Airport (VCBIA), the mean minimum temperature of 23.5 °C (74.3 °F) equalled the record highest, tying that of 2010 and 1969. The long-term average minimum for January to April is 22.7 °C (72.9 °F).

At the same location, the mean minimum temperature for February was 23.4 °C (74.1 °F). This shattered the previous record of 22.2 °C (72.0 °F) for the month. The mean minimum for the other months, in the period, ranked in the top ten of the record dating back to 1969.

As has been observed globally, colder places, and in our case, colder times are warming faster than warmer times. On average, the first third of the year has the lowest mean minimum temperature; yet, it is warming at a faster rate than the other warmer two thirds (May-August, September-December) of the year – it is warming at a statistically significant rate of around 1.3 °C (2.34 °F) per hundred years.


The blue straight line is the long-term temperature trend line

Regarding rainfall, for the first time in three years, we got our traditional April showers. The 1981-2010 long-term-average is 85.6 mm (3.37 in), and we got 79.0 mm (3.11 in), just 8% less than the average. Seatons Village and nearby areas were, however, quite wet with rainfall totals in excess of 150 mm (6 in). On the drier end of the spectrum were Five Islands and nearby areas with 34.3 mm (1.35 in).

Notwithstanding April’s rainfall, during the first third of the year the island-average rainfall for Antigua was below normal. However, it’s the highest in three years. Year-to-date, we have recorded 200.9 mm (7.91 in) of rainfall. This is 60.7 mm (2.39 in) below the long-term-average.


The light blue straight line is the long-term rainfall trend line

Overall, annual rainfall is on an insignificant downward trend. Meanwhile, there is virtually zero change taking place with the rainfall for the first third of the year. However, April is getting wetter at a statistically significant rate of around 45.0 mm (1.77 in) per hundred years.

See our temperature and precipitation statements for more.

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Become Hurricane Strong by Taking Action Now

15 05 2016

Dale C. S. Destin |

The 2016 Atlantic hurricane season starts in 17 days – June 1, and runs until November 30. The season is forecast to have near normal activity – 13 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

Regardless of the forecast, the same detailed preparations are required to protect life, property and livelihoods. As we say in the meteorological community, it only takes one to change your life and community. Recall, notwithstanding last year’s hurricane season being quiet, Erika caused catastrophic damage to Dominica.

May 15-21 is designated hurricane preparedness week in the U.S. – the time to prepare for potential tropical cyclones (tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes) over the upcoming six months. We have no such week here, but we have a shared enemy; hence, we need to prepare similarly. The following are the seven actions required now to become “hurricane strong” i.e. resilient to tropical cyclones.

Determine your risk from tropical cyclones. Disaster risk is inversely proportional to knowledge – meaning the more knowledge you have on the subject the lower your risk is likely to be. Depressions, storms and hurricanes are not just about high winds, other associated hazards are inland flooding, storm surge, rip currents and tornadoes. Know the potential hazards that could affect your location and prepare to mitigate them. Local knowledge could be crucial in this regard, so seek it, especially with respect to flooding (See our tropical cyclone climatology).

All Antigua Named Storms

All the named storms to have affected Antigua – 1851-2014. Credit NOAA

Develop an evacuation plan if you live in an area that will need to be evacuated or if your home is deemed unsafe to ride out a tropical cyclone. Public shelters should be a last resort, so try to arrange to have the home of a friend or relative as your evacuation destination, if need be.

Secure an insurance check-up to ascertain that you have adequate coverage for your home and content. You especially need to ensure that you have coverage for wind and flood damage – the two main destructive hazards of depressions, storms and hurricanes.

Assemble disaster supplies now so as to avoid long lines and potential scarcity before and after a tropical cyclone. This is one of the most important elements of being “hurricane strong”. Supplies should be enough to last for at least one week after the event and should include things such as non-perishable food items, water, portable radio and batteries.

Strengthen your home, if possible, to be able to withstand, at least, a Category 3 hurricane. The best place to ride out a storm is in your own home. So, if you have questions about its strength, get a qualified professional to evaluate it, and if it can be retrofitted, do it. In the long run, it will be far cheaper than going to a shelter and leaving your property to be blown away.

Identify your trusted sources of information for a hurricane event. Your national meteorological service is your most trusted source – in the Antigua and Barbuda context, it’s the Antigua and Barbuda Meteorological Service through its website and hotline: 4634638.

Trusted information can also be had from the following social media accounts:

Your disaster management agency, in our case – the National Office of Disaster Service (NODS) will provide disaster management services to reduce the risk of the inclement weather.

Both your met office and disaster management agency will partner with a number of media outlets to get the information out. For us, the Antigua and Broadcasting Service (ABS) will be foremost partner.

Complete your written hurricane plan now, before the hurricane season starts. The time to write your plan is not when you are steering down the barrel of a hurricane. Under such conditions, you are likely to forget crucial things or make the wrong decisions. Your written plan should include where you are going to ride out the storm and a communication strategy.

Start preparing for the hurricane season today and become “hurricane strong”. Follow us via social media for the latest updates.

May to October 2016 Climate Outlooks for Antigua

3 05 2016

Dale C. S. Destin |

The May to October 2016 climate outlooks are now available for Antigua. In the short-term, the news remains bleak regarding rainfall. However, in the long-term, there is relieving news, as above normal rainfall is likely for the period August-October. Meanwhile, uncomfortably warm temperatures are expected for the upcoming six months.


Notwithstanding a wetter than normal week in April, droughts (meteorological, agricultural, hydrological and socioeconomic) continue across Antigua. We are now entering the 35th month of mostly moderate or worse rainfall deficits.

Currently, a moderate drought or worse is evolving over the periods – February to July 2016, October 2015 to August 2016 and November 2015 to October 2016. All three periods are likely to have below normal rainfall. Drought warnings remain in place and will likely continue into the third quarter of the year.


The current El Nino looks to be on its last gasp. It will transition to a neutral state around the middle of the year and possibly to La Nina during our wet season. La Nina, unlike El Nino, generally encourages rainfall across our area, mainly during the wet season. Although still distant, we appear to be drawing nearer to the light at the end of the tunnel i.e. the end of the droughts.

Precipitation and Temperature

Over the coming three months – May to July, below to near normal rainfall will result in the droughts continuing, at best, slight, and at worse, re-intensifying to serious levels.

Meanwhile, August to October will likely see above normal rainfall. Thus, some droughts may come to an end during the latter half of the upcoming rainy season. However, there remain large uncertainties as to how wet the rainy season will eventually be.

So far, 2016 has been wetter that last year; however, it’s running over 50 mm (2 in) below average. The dry season (January-June) is likely to be drier than usual, and at best, the year will have near normal rainfall.

The heat will likely be on for much of the rest of the year. Warmer than normal temperatures are probable for MayMay-July and August-October.

See the following links for the full outlooks; rainfall: MayMay-July, August-OctoberMay-October 2016 and April Drought Outlook.

The next set of outlooks will be available by June 3, 2016.

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