How dry has this September been?

19 09 2012

By Dale C. S. Destin

Antigua is currently experiencing a meteorological drought, which started in February of this year. Notwithstanding the active hurricane season, so far, September has been especially dry. The first half of the month only yielded 1.3 mm / 0.05 inch of rainfall at the V. C. Bird International Airport. This tied with September of 1986 for the lowest total at the Airport on record (1971-2012). Below normal rainfall was anticipated for the month so this does not come as a surprise. This sort of rainfall is consistent with a warm Pacific Ocean (El Nino) and a lukewarm/cold tropical north Atlantic (TNA) Ocean. The lowest total rainfall for the month of September on record at the Airport is 27.2 mm or 1.07 inches (1978, at the start of a strong El Nino and cold TNA), while the highest is 410.2mm or 16.15 inches (1995, during a moderate La Nina Episode and warm TNA). Thus, based on record, there has never been a sub-inch total for the month; only two other month has never experienced sub-inch rainfall – August and December. However, at the current rate, and based of the outlook, sub-inch rainfall is quite possible and would obviously make it a record dry September. Further, it would make the drought become severe.

Record Breaking Rainfall over the Past Two Years

29 03 2012

As we continue to see a drying trend across our area, the record shows that the past two years ending February 2012 was the wettest on record. The total for the period March 2010 to February 2012 was 129.80 inches; the previous highest was 129.72 inches recorded over the period March 1951 to February 1953; this was 59 years ago. The normal rainfall for this period is 93.88 inches. Recall that prior to the past very wet period, we had a serious drought during the second half of 2009 through early 2010. We may be heading into another Meteorological Drought over the next few months.

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