Potentially Record Low October Rainfall for Antigua

29 10 2016

Dale C. S. Destin |

After a very wet September – the wettest since 1995 and the wettest of any month since October 2012, October 2016 is turning out to be a near record dry October across much of Antigua.

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Thus far, the rainfall for Antigua and the V. C. Bird International Airport (VCBIA) are 20.6 mm (0.81 in) and 14.3 mm (0.56 in) respectively. These currently rank as driest and third driest respectively on record dating back to 1928.

Interestingly, the anemic rainfall for the month seems largely due to Hurricanes Matthew and Nicole and Invest 99 Disturbance. Matthew brought us some rain toward the end of September. However, once it passed through the Eastern Caribbean it served as a giant sponge in sucking up all of the moisture in the area and only sharing it with those areas it made unwelcome visits on.

Nicole and to a lesser extent Invest 99 did similarly. Since then, wind shear and high pressure systems have made it difficult to rain across our area.

It is not over yet; we could still end up with respectable rainfall for October. In the past, up to 100 mm (4 in) has fallen in the last two days of the month.

La Nina, which is good for rainfall at this time of the year for our region seems on the verge of developing.

Our experimental monthly rainfall forecast, issued for October, indicated that the month was likely to be wetter than normal; this is very unlikely. However, recent weather forecasts from various weather models are optimistic about rainfall for much of next week, some of which are likely for the last day of the October.

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A Slow Start to October’s Rainfall for Antigua

20 10 2014

Dale C. S. Destin |

Rainfall continues to be a very scarce commodity in Antigua and Barbuda. Like most of the rest of the months for the past year, the rainfall for October has been quite discouraging, thus far. The first half of October has seen a significant rainfall deficit across much of Antigua according to preliminary statistics at the Antigua and Barbuda Met Service Climate Section.

Figures up to October 16 show there has been 36.0 mm of rain at the Met Office located at the V. C. Bird International Airport. This is only 50% of the October average of 71.8 mm, just about the amount that should have fallen by this point.

Rainfall_OctoberThis makes this first half of October the 16th driest at the Airport based on available records dating back to 1967. Three of the last four first half of October has seen worse rainfall deficits. However, the overall trend is positive although not significant.

Many persons were hoping that Hurricane Gonzalo would have put a dent in the drought; however, this was just not to be. The system produced only 1-5 inches across Antigua and 4-6 inches across Barbuda; however the higher totals were isolated and away from the most of the islands catchments.

The low rainfall figures appear to be due largely to sinking air associated with the Madden-Julian Oscillation in our part of the world for much of the first 16 days of October.

Of course, while these figures are interesting, they don’t tell us where the month will end up overall. A few days of wet weather, which looks unlikely at the moment, could drastically alter the statistics. So we’ll have to wait for the full-month figures before making any judgements. September had a much worse start and was able to limp into the near normal range in the end. It should be noted the rainfall for the second half of October is trending downward, although not significantly.

The outlook for the month called for near normal rainfall; thus we shall see what happens at the end of the month.

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