(CNS): In a regional weather outlook published this week, the Barbados-based Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) has predicted continued drought and dry spells across many parts of the region for the first quarter of 2019, largely due to the emerging El Niño. The regional weather experts pointed out that the Cayman Islands is one of a number of islands enduring a longer-term drought and is warning of potential heatwaves later on this year. The Cayman Islands National Weather Service recently revealed that Cayman received well over a foot less rain last year than the average, with a particularly dry June and July.
Although Cayman is not dependent on rain for the bulk of its public water supply because of its desalination plants, the drought has been impacting the water lens used by farmers and the local vegetation across the landscape, which does rely on rainfall.
Despite the ongoing drought, however, at the weekend thunderstorms in Grand Cayman led to more than three inches of rain on Sunday alone, flooding some roads and causing delays to air traffic at Owen Roberts International Airport and drenching arriving passengers. The 3.55 inches recorded at the airport weather station at the weekend was double the entire amount of rain that fell in January last year.
Global temperatures predictions for 2019 suggest it will be another record-breaking year. Long-term forecasters agree that a building El Niño event will come on top of human-caused global warming, with 2019 set to be one of the warmest, if not the warmest, on record. El Niño not only raises temperatures but redistributes weather patterns, making extreme weather events like droughts and floods more common.
See the CIMH Caribbean weather outlook here