Record Low Rainfall for the Past 24 Months

15 07 2015

Dale C. S. Destin|

Very few Antiguans, if any, have witnessed a drier 24-month period ending June. July 2013-June 2015, is now the driest such 24 months on record, dating back to 1928. The cumulative rainfall of the past two years is the lowest in, at least, 87 years.

For the past two dozen months, the country, on average, only received 1666.2 mm (65.6 in) as compared to the long-term average or normal total of 2392.7 mm (94.2 in), an unprecedented deficit of 726.4 mm (28.6 in) or 30%.

Since June 2013, there has only been three months (December 2013, August 2014 and November 2014) with above average rainfall or positive rainfall anomalies (anomaly = departure from the long-term average) and none since the start of 2015.

Rainfall_Anomaly_for_Antigua-2013-Present

Clearly, such low rainfall for the given period is quite rear; it has a 2% chance of happening, which translates to it happening once every 50 years, on average. The previous record for a similar 24 months was 1701.8 mm (67.0 in) observed July 1964-June 1966.

Within the period July 2013-June 2015, we saw a number of notable low rainfall periods: The just ended official dry season, January-June 2015, is now the 3rd driest on record and the driest since 2001. The year 2014, became the 13th driest on record and the driest since 2003. The wet season, July-December 2013, is the 15th driest.

MonthlyRainfallAccumulationsforAntigua1

With no end to the drought yet in sight, more records are expected to fall or come very close to falling. Recent analyses give 2015 a fifty-fifty chance of becoming the driest year on record. This means that the combined rainfall total for 2014 and 2015 could become the record lowest of any two successive calendar years.

The driest of any consecutive 24 months on record is April 1967 to March 1969 with 1701.8 mm (67.0 in), while 1929-1930 is the driest of any two calendar years in a row with 1691.6 mm (66.6 in). October 2000 to September 2001 holds the record for the lowest rainfall for any 12 straight months with 604.5 mm (23.8 in) and 1983 holds the record for a calendar year with 680.7 mm (26.8 in).

We will continue to monitor what is shaping up to be an unprecedented situation. Visit Antigua and Barbuda Meteorological Service Climate Section for more. Also follow us also @anumetservice, facebook and tumblr to keep updated with weather & climate info for the protection of life, property, livelihood & the enhancement of the economy.

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