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.

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