Usual Rainfall for April, Droughts Eased

31 05 2018

Dale C. S. Destin |

The rainfall for April 2018 was near normal; however, is the driest April since 2015. The island-average total for the month was 71.6 mm (2.82 in). This represents 84% of the usual amount of 85.6 mm (3.37 in).


The last three month period – February to April, upon which the assessment of the current intensity of the drought is based, had 126.2 mm (4.97 in), 65% of the normal total of 193.0 mm (7.60 in). This puts the meteorological droughts current intensity at slight, improving from moderate. With Potworks Dam about to go totally dry and the vegetation of the Island struggling, there is little doubt that most other droughts are at moderate levels or worse. Happily, the full impacts of the droughts are being masked by the presence of the desalination plants.  According to the Antigua Public Utilities Authority, around 85% of all potable water is coming from the sea via reverse osmosis and is expected to climb to near 90% in days.

The seven-month period – October 2017 to April 2018, the duration of the drought thus far, was seriously dry. The total for the period of 407.92 mm (16.06 in) is the lowest since 2001 and the eighth lowest on record dating back to 1928.


Based on the last set of rainfall outlooks, the news is not good for rainfall. Overall, below normal rainfall is most likely for, at least, the next three months – June to August. Additionally, the projected rainfall for 2018 is below normal with a 60% confidence. Thus, there is every reason to believe that the droughts will continue and likely worsen.

Even if the rainfall total turns out to be near average, it will not be enough, especially with respect to the hydrological drought, as the monthly evaporation rates significantly exceeds rainfall totals for most of the upcoming months. The chance of the droughts ending is around 20% or slight.

Recall that the current drought started in October 2017 with the intensity at serious levels. On average, serious meteorological droughts last for close to a year, but not continuously at serious intensity. We have just passed the seven-month mark. Will it go another five months? The answer still looks more like to be yes than no.

Keep following us for more on this developing story and all things weather and climate.


Updated Hurricane Season Prediction: Less Active Season Forecast

13 05 2018

Dale C. S. Destin |

Our updated forecast for the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season is now available. It calls for a less active season than previously indicated and a less active season than 2017.  The prediction is for an accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) index of 118, 13 named storms, 6 becoming hurricanes and 3 becoming major hurricanes.


These new numbers represent a slight decrease below those of the previous forecast. Previously, the forecast called for an ACE of 135, 15 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes. Recall that the ACE is the overall predictor of a hurricane season, it is a measure that is based on the total number of storms, their intensity and duration.

A typical season has an ACE index of 106, 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. Major hurricanes have sustained wind speeds of at least 178 km/h or 111 miles per hour (e.g., Category 3 or higher), based on the Saffir Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was one of the most, if not the most destructive for the Caribbean. Several islands experienced, at least, catastrophic damage. Barbuda, an island which is a part of the state of Antigua and Barbuda was decimated and left uninhabitable for a while.

Ten of last year’s 17 named storms reached hurricane strength—meaning they had sustained winds of at least 119 km/h or 74 miles per hour, and six of the 10 hurricanes were major ones. It was the seventh worst year on record, based on the ACE index of 223.

If this forecast pans out, 2018 would be the least active since 2015. Notwithstanding, a season with activity second only to 2017, since 2005, cannot be ruled out.

According to other forecasts surveyed, the consensus is for an ACE of 109, 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes. Thus, our forecast is calling for similar activity; however, regardless of the forecast, you should always prepare well each season, as it only takes one hurricane to ruin your year.

The Atlantic hurricane season begins in less than three weeks—June 1 and concludes on November 30.

We will be updating the forecast by June 10.

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