No End in Sight for Drought-Hit Antigua

22 06 2018

Dale C. S. Destin |

There is no end in sight for the current drought affecting Antigua. Not only there is no end in sight but it is expected to get worse, perhaps much worse.

Potworks Dam, a Billion Gallon Dam - Jun 5, 2018.

Potworks Dam, our billion gallon dam, is empty. Pic taken Jun 5, 2018, courtesy Karen Corbin – Humane Society.

Analyses done for the upcoming months, for as far as the (forecasting) eyes can see – through December 2018, suggest a moderate drought or worse will continue. For the drought to end, we need a very wet month or a few months of above normal rainfall – it’s possible but highly unlikely, based on projected climate signals.


The period with the highest likelihood of getting less than usual rainfall is July to September. It is near 100% certain that this period will be, at least, moderately dry i.e. rainfall in the bottom 20% of the historical record. This means that such dryness occurs no more than once every five years.

Already, June 1-20 is tied for the second driest across some parts of the island in over a generation. Further, the year, thus far, is the driest since 2015 and the second driest since 2003.

Meanwhile, the rainfall for the year has a 60% chance of being below normal. The projection is for the year to get around 965 mm (38 in) with a 70% likelihood of it being in the range 686 to 1295 mm (27 to 51 in).  On average, Antigua gets 1194 mm (47 in).

Rainfall For Anu 2018

Ongoing or potential impacts of the drought include the following:

  • Crop or pasture damage or losses
  • Decreased food production and crop scarcities
  • Financial losses primarily to farmers and related sectors
  • Water shortages and restrictions
  • Higher than usual grass and bush fires
  • Environmental degradations

The current and projected dry weather is largely due to the ongoing cooler than normal tropical North Atlantic, which is projected to remain this way through much of the rest of the year. The dryness could be intensified by El Nino, which is now likely to develop by October.

Recall that drought is not the absence of rainfall but rather lower than usual rainfall or a deficit in rainfall. Thus, relatively dry weather conditions will prevail for the drought period.

If you found this article informative, I would be very grateful if you would help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook.

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