14-day dry spell in March, drought watch continues | THE DAILY HERALD

AIRPORT–It was a long, dry March. The month was characterised by a fourteen-day dry spell and the two hottest days having an average temperature 26.6 degrees Celsius or 80 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the March “Weather and Climate Bulletin” issued by the Meteorological Department.

The longest dry spell was 14 days – March 18-31.

Rainfall for March was below the normal range (32-58 millimetres). Average daily temperatures for March were above normal. This was the warmest March since 2010.

Further, a drought watch has been issued for St. Maarten and most of the Leeward Islands. A watch means drought is possible; therefore, management plans should be implemented, protect resources, conserve water, monitor and look out for monthly updates.

Daytime temperatures were within the normal range while night-time temperatures were above the usual range for March. The warmest days were March 28 and 31 with an average temperature of 26.6 degrees Celsius or 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The day with the most sunshine hours was March 14 (11 hours and 18 minutes).

The day with the least sunshine hours was March 4 (two hours and 54 minutes).

The windiest day was March 25 with a daily average wind speed of 13 knots or 15 miles per hour.

Mostly fair skies prevailed throughout March as the Atlantic high-pressure system influenced stable conditions across the region.

Rainfall totals for the season April-May-June 2019 are likely to be the usual or drier across most of the Caribbean, except for the Cayman Islands and Belize where it is expected to be wetter than usual.

Within the 91 days of April-May-June, the normal rainfall total for St. Maarten ranges from 156-253mm/6-10 inches, with about 22-34 wet days and up to six dry spells of seven days.

April usually marks the end of the dry season while May can either be wet or dry as transition into the wet season begins. According to the predictions, these months are expected to be the usual or drier on St. Maarten.

Most of the islands in the Caribbean have experienced low rainfall activity over the

past six months or more. Severe drought has developed in Antigua, Aruba, Curaçao, Barbados, Northern Guyana and some of the Windward Islands.

Rainfall over the past year continues to remain below normal. There is a 27 per cent rainfall deficit. There were six months within the past year with below normal rainfall.

Sea surface temperatures in the Pacific have increased during February and early March while subsurface waters have become warmer than average. Patterns in the atmosphere now clearly suggest El Niño conditions.

The latest forecast models collectively indicate a 90 per cent chance of El Niño prevailing during April-May-June. The forecast also indicate that, a weak El Niño will continue through summer, perhaps lasting through 2019. An El Niño phase usually produces warmer and drier conditions with less rainfall activity in most parts of the Caribbean.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/86507-14-day-dry-spell-in-march-drought-watch-continues