AIRPORT–February broke a few record. It was the windiest since 1997 as well as the wettest and coolest February since 2011. The highest number of wet days since 1982 were also recorded at Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) by the Meteorological Department of St. Maarten.
Rainfall for February was above the normal range (31-57 millimetres). A total of 75.5 mm/3.0 inches were recorded in 18 rain days. There were no heavy rainfall days in February.
The last day of February was the day with the most sunshine for the month. A total of 11 hours and six minutes of sunshine was recorded on February 28.
The first day of the month was the one with the least sunshine. Only four hours and 54 minutes of sunshine were recorded on February 1.
The warmest day was February 6 with an average temperature of 25.9 degrees Celsius/79 degrees Fahrenheit.
The average and maximum temperature for February were within the normal range while the minimum temperature was below-normal.
The windiest days were February 11 and 12, with a daily average wind speed of 18 knots or 21 miles per hour.
Skies for the month were fair to partly cloudy.
All data was recorded by the Met Office at the airport and may not necessarily reflect conditions at other points around the country.
For the past 12 months rainfall has been within the normal range. December was below normal while April, May, June, November and February were above the normal range.
Total rainfall for the last 3 months was 197.5 mm this amount was within the normal range (173 258mm). There were no heavy rainfall events during the last three (3) months. Occasional showers produced by shallow clouds drifting with the brisk trade winds or lingering frontal boundaries.
Small craft /high surf warnings were issued due to northerly swells and strong winds in both January and February.
The strong Atlantic High Pressure System generated brisk winds during February. Consequently, small craft warnings were issued due to rough seas and high surf warnings were also issued as a result of long period swells in excess of 14 seconds generated by a deep low pressure system north of the region.
Rainfall is forecast to be below normal for St. Maarten; Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao (ABC) and the rest of the eastern Caribbean while above normal rainfall is forecast for the Greater Antilles and western Caribbean for the March-April-May season.
Within the 92 days of Mar-Apr-May, the normal rainfall total for St. Maarten ranges from 163 to 262 millimetres or six-10 inches with about 25-29 wet days.
The forecast is for the possibility of up to 4 wet spells and about 2 very wet spells within that period. These spells often occur in April or May. March is the driest month of the year.
Temperatures for both day and night across the Caribbean are likely to be near normal to above normal for this season, except for Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.
Daytime temperatures across St. Maarten and the Leeward Islands are expected to be above normal while night-time temperatures are expected to be near normal to above normal for this time of year.
Short term drought conditions might possibly develop in some areas across the Caribbean by the end of May 2018. Namely; St. Maarten, ABC islands, Cayman Islands and western Cuba.
The Drought Forecast suggests that drought conditions may develop on St. Maarten by the end of May 2018. In the upcoming months, the Met Office advised continued to monitoring of resources and to keep updated while management plans are implemented.
In mid-February 2018, the tropical Pacific reflected La Nina conditions, with sea surface temperatures of around 0.8 degree Celsius below average in the east-central Pacific. This is a range of a weak to moderate La Nina and most key atmospheric variables were also suggesting La Nina patterns.
The collection of all ENSO Predicting Models are indicating that neutral conditions will return this season (March-April-May) and continue until the July-August-September season.
Based on historical data, in some cases, following a La Nina phase, the wet season in the eastern Caribbean usually starts late. This often increases the chances of a drier than usual March-April-May.
Sea surface temperatures (SST) now around the Leeward Islands and St. Maarten are about 26.1 degree Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit). This is above average for this time of year however, this temperature is way below the bleaching threshold (29.3 degree C/85 degree F). As a result no thermal stress on corals is expected at this time and through the end of May.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/74483-feb-was-windiest-month-since-1997