(CNS): Less than 44 inches of rain fell in the Cayman Islands in 2018, almost 13 inches below the 30-year average of 56.2 inches, the National Weather Service has revealed in its annual assessment of the islands’ rainfall. Although well short of 2016, the hottest driest year on record, last year was still much drier than the 30-year average and a lot drier than 2017 when huge deluges of rain in October pushed numbers above the average to more than 59 inches. While February, as expected, was the driest month of the year with just 0.29 of an inch recorded it was well below the annual average for that month of 1.50 inches. The wettest month for 2018 was September with 13.5 inches, well above the annual average of 8.74 inches.
While rainfall peaked in both May and September the rest of the year remained much drier than long-term climate trends would suggest. June and July were both very dry in 2018 compared to the 30-year averages. The total measured accumulation of 2.34 inches for June was 3.86 inches below average while July was even drier with just 1.2 inches falling all month, more than 4.5 inches below the average for July of 5.78 inches.
While Cayman escaped the hurricane season unscathed, one of the most notable weather systems for the year came just a few weeks ago when a strong cold front moved across the area on 21 December bringing very rough seas. The George Town Port and west coast of Grand Cayman were battered by large waves, resulting in flooding of the main roads leading to road closures along portions of the capital.
The system supported fresh to strong northwest winds and very rough seas from 20-31 December. The Cayman Islands National Weather Service issued marine warnings for the system for the period.
Across the globe 2018 has ranked one the warmest years on record from Alaska to New Zealand but is set to be the fourth warmest overall. This means that the five warmest years on record have now all occurred in the last five years. Given the long-term forecasts, climate scientists are already warning that 2019 is going to be even hotter and could set another global record as the warmest year ever.