The Fourth Longest Sub-Twenty Cold Spell for Antigua and Barbuda

23 01 2017

Dale C. S. Destin |

Last night’s cold weather makes the current sub-twenty °C (sub 70 °F) cold spell the fourth longest on record at the Airport and most of the rest of Antigua and Barbuda. It tied with February and December of 1973.

With a mean minimum temperature of 18.6 °C (65.5 °F), it is also the second coldest sub-twenty cold spell for the country, on record, lasting more than three consecutive nights. The mean minimum temperature for the past four nights ranged between 11 and 22 °C (71.6 °F) with the vast majority of places experiencing sub-twenty temperatures.

jan2017coldspelltemps

The last time the Airport had a temperature below 18 C was in 2000 – 16 years ago.

We are also looking at the coldest four-night period for January since 1980 – over 35 years ago, and since 2000 for all other months, at least, at the Airport.

Of the eight times we have seen this spell lasting more than three days, it has gone for four days twice and five days thrice, based on data for the Airport.

The record five-day sub-twenty cold spell is shared by March 1997, January 1984 and March 1972. The coldest one is March 1972 with a mean minimum temperature of 18.5 °C (65.3 °F).

So far for January, the mean minimum temperature at the Airport is now 21.9 °C (71.4 °F) – below normal. The mean daily temperature is well below normal with a value of 24.6 °C (76.3 °F).

There is now about a 50/50 chance the record will be tied tonight, as conditions could favour sub-twenty temperatures once again. If it were to happen, this cold spell would likely become the longest as the chances of sub-twenty temperatures are high for Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Usual January temperatures are expected after Wednesday.

The statements above are truest for the Airport and surrounding areas; however, from a qualitative assessment, it is applicable to the rest of the country.

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2 responses

24 01 2017
Joe Bahri

Are you able to distinguish and discuss the CAUSE of the cool overnight lows?
The cool lows of the past few nights were definitely caused by classic Radiational cooling (lack oF wind). But a few weeks ago the cause was due to the NNE winds behind the cold front…… a very different cause.

It would be very interesting if you could identify the CAUSE of the previous record periods of cool lows for comparison.
Not as difficult as you may think.
The lows associated with Radiational cooling will have low to variable wind (SSW) and will also have tell tale day time highs above average.
The lows associated with cold fronts will have gusty winds out of the NNE or ENE and will have lower than average daytime highs.

In any case, the CAUSE of the cool overnight lows is worthy of discussion.

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24 01 2017
Dale C. S. Destin - Antigua Met Service

Thanks for the idea!

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