Dry Weather Continues; Droughts Reintensified

1 04 2019

Dale C. S. Destin |

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Antigua continues to have a drier than normal start to the year. February marks the second consecutive drier than normal month, the third in a row. The rainfall for February was the second driest since 2013 and the 18th driest on record dating back to 1928. Over half of the normal rainfall did not take place; the rainfall total of 27.7 mm (1.09 in) is less than 50% of the average for the month. The near record rainfall of the first half of November 2018, is now a distant memory, the droughts have reintensified to, at least, moderate levels.

Rainfall for the past 24 months for varying time intervals compared to the normal/average and records

The last three-month period – December to February, upon which the assessment of the current intensity of the drought is based, was well below normal. The three-month period had paltry 133.6 mm (5.26 in), while the normal amount of rainfall is 225.8 mm (8.89 in).

We remain in a severe meteorological drought, the worst category on our drought scale. However, at the moment, the current intensity is at moderate, declined from slight. Recall that the overall description of the drought is based on the worst intensity achieved during its lifetime; however, over time, the intensity will fluctuate.

Potworks Dam, our billion-gallon surface catchment, continues to approach critical levels. Water rationing is imminent. This is indicative of the continued drought, which has no end in sight, at the moment.  

The seventeen-month period – October 2017 to February 2019, the duration of the drought thus far, is deemed severely dry. The total for the period of 1111.3 mm (43.75 in) is the third lowest on record, for such a period, dating back to 1928. This interval normally gets 1729.7 mm (68.10 in), which means a rainfall deficit of 36% – more than one-third of the usual rain was absent.

Probabilistic Multi-Model Ensemble Forecast of Rainfall For Apr-Jun 2019, Based on 12 Global Models – 50-60% chance of below normal rainfall for Antigua and Barbuda

Based on the last set of rainfall forecasts from regional and especially international sources, the news remains discouraging for rainfall. Overall, below normal rainfall is likely for the next six months – April to September 2019. Thus, there is every reason to believe that the droughts will further reintensify. The chance of the droughts ending is, at the very most, 30% or low.


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