Home The Big Stories Country in the throes of ‘severe’ drought

Country in the throes of ‘severe’ drought

Antigua’s main surface water catchment, Potworks Dam, is completely depleted as a result of drought conditions. (Photo courtesy APUA)

By Shermain Bique-Charles

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Antigua and Barbuda’s drought level has plunged from moderate to severe, and climatologists believe that the situation will remain that way for the better part of 2020.

Director of the Antigua Meteorological Office, Dale Destin, said there had been limited rainfall for the last three months.

The amount of rain recorded for April, May and June was only 3.25 inches, making it the sixth driest period for those three months on records which date back to 1928. It represents a meagre 32 percent of the normal total of 10.81 inches. 

“Potworks Dam in the background, going on three months, without a drop of its billion-gallon-water capacity. Other droughts have also tumbled with the meteorological drought, which is considered the mother of them all. These others are at moderate or worse intensity,” he said.

According to Destin, the rainfall for June was below normal for the third month in a row and, although drier than normal, it was wetter than the last two Junes combined and more than the last two months combined.

“This is an indication of just how dry those months were,” he added.

Relief from the dry weather is becoming uncertain, according to Destin, with forecasts for July to September citing a 45 percent chance of above normal rainfall.

This means that the amount of rainfall required to bring the country out of the drought is unlikely.

Meanwhile, Destin’s latest forecast suggests less than a 40 percent chance of above normal rainfall for the rest of the year, the wet season – July to December.

“This means that near or below normal rainfall is more likely than drought-busting rainfall. My latest projection is for a 50 percent chance of below normal rainfall, 30 percent chance of the usual rainfall, and 20 percent chance of the year getting more than usual rainfall,” he said.



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