Flying Start to November 2014 Rainfall for Antigua and Barbuda

12 11 2014

By Dale C. S. Destin |

Although we are in the midst of a drought, we have just witnessed one of the wettest starts to November, for many parts of Antigua and Barbuda. The rainfall total for the month got off to a flying start from day 1 with a tropical wave dumping 17.4 mm (0.69”) and it has continued almost unabated up to present. Last weekend, we saw basically a deluge which prompted the issuance of flood watches and warnings. According to radar data, up to 142 mm (5.6”) of rain fell across Antigua and up to 280 mm (11.0”) across Barbuda, as skies opened up in response to a powerful, upper level low pressure system.

Radar Rainfall Totals for Nov 7

Rainfall Totals for Nov 7, 2014

Rainfall Total for Nov 8, 2014

Rainfall Total for Nov 8, 2014

Last weekend’s wet weather was not confined to the northeast Caribbean. Heavy downpours were also experienced further south with in excess of 140 mm (5.5”) measured as far south as St. Lucia, where there were reports of land slides.

72hrs_ending_15Z_Nov10Figures up to November 10 show there has been 113.5 mm (4.47”) of rain at the Met Office located at the V. C. Bird International Airport. This is well above normal for this period and the fifth wettest on record dating back to 1967. It is also the second wettest such period since 1986. On average, the Airport gets 135.1 mm (5.32”) of rainfall during November; thus, the rainfall accumulation for the first 10 days is less than 22 mm away from the average total for the whole month.

Nov1-10_Rain_GraphicIn 48 years, only four other November 1-10 periods, have been wetter: 2011, 1986, 1984 and 1974. The record wettest November 1-10 occurred in 1974, when a staggering 355.3 mm (14.0”) of rain fell.

The wet episode for November has had a quenching impact on the drought. However, it is not over; actually it is far from over. Although the drought has eased to slight levels, another 139.7 mm (5.5”) is needed to end it.

Will we get the needed amount of rainfall to end the drought? It is unclear as the climate is sending mixed signals as to what will happen for the rest of November and the next three months. The spike in rainfall seems to be partially due to warmer than normal North Atlantic sea surface temperatures, which are likely to persist. However, an El Nino is brewing, and if established, could suppress rainfall.

Of course, while these figures are interesting, they don’t tell us where the month will end up overall. On average at the Airport, the rest of November averages 94.6 mm (3.74”) of rainfall. In the past, this period has had as little as 5.6 mm (0.22’’) and as much as 578.3 mm (22.77”).

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2 responses

20 11 2014
Neal Williams

Dale,

I’m hoping you can provide a little bit of insight on the weather for next week (11/24 – 11/28). I’m travelling to Antigua from the US and have been paying close attention to the weather. I found the above article and I’m wondering if I shouldn’t delay my trip until a time when it will be a little drier.

We’re staying on the northwest side of Antigua by Galley Bay. When it rains does it consistently rain across the entire island or are there parts that get more rain than others?

Thanks for any advice you can provide!

-Neal

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21 11 2014
Dale Destin - Antigua Met Service

Hi Neal:

Thanks for choosing Antigua for your vacation! We having been having a drought for over a year, so the recent rains are welcome, not only for all the normal reasons but also for reviving the island’s beautiful vegetation.

After Saturday, the chance of showers will be near 40% day or night through Nov 28. These showers, if they occur will generally not last more than 15 minutes or cumulatively, less than 2 hours over a 24-hour period. Once they are gone, bright sunshine will return. Rainfall accumulation for each day should not exceed 3 mm (0.12 inch). Thus, if I were you, I would not delay the trip.

Galley Bay Beach is one of my favourite, I used to go there quite often when I was much younger. I is somewhat secluded and sheltered and does not get a lot of traffic. I am sure you are going to enjoy the beach and the hotel. Safe trip and feel free to follow me @anumetservice for the latest weather, climate and related information.

Sunny regards,
Dale

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