Farmers count cost as drought hits Bermuda

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HAMILTON, Bermuda, Apr 27, CMC – Bermuda’s farmers are counting the cost of drought conditions now hitting the island.
They are concerned as less than an inch of rain has fallen on the island in the past 30 days and total rainfall for the year is now almost an inch down on average – despite a January 5 deluge breaking an old record.
The Bermuda Weather Service (BWS) said the island was now “across the threshold into drought”.
“Things out there are just terrible,” farmer Roger Pacheco told the Royal Gazette newspaper after harvesting parched potatoes and carrots from soils toughened by the lack of water.
A total of 5.34 inches of rain fell on January 5, easily beating the previous January record of 3.99 inches in a day set in 1986.
Pacheco said the last decent downfall was around three weeks ago.
Lettuces and corn are “suffering”, he said, while lawns are turning brown and water tanks are running low.
A BWS spokesman said the present cloudy interval was likely to give way soon to “probably at least a week” of fine skies.
“May is the driest month, and April is the second-driest,” he said. “So, we have come into a dry time a bit drier than the norm.”
Up to Wednesday, only 0.73 inches of rain had fallen in April, bringing the year’s total to 17.05 compared to the normal 18.03 inches.
“We’ve had little rain to speak of in 90 days,” the forecaster said.
“Right now our rainfall index is at 59 per cent — 100 per cent is considered normal and anything below 60 per cent is considered an extended dry spell.
“Hopefully, this unsettled weather will at least give us something to wet the ground.”

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