Monday 20 November, 2017

'Persistent rainfall not unusual at this time of year'

To paraphrase the famous poet, James Russell Lowell, "the only argument available with an east wind is to put on your overcoat”.

However such an argument has done little to assuage the aknger of some Jamaicans, who have been railing against the succession of rainy days and low-dragging thunderclouds that the island has been experiencing over the past month. 

While no actual figures have been made available yet through the Met Service, it appears that November 2017 has been one of the rainiest in recent memory. And there is no respite in sight as now, the island is currently experiencing a trough which is expected to linger across the island and the region for the next for the next three days. 

"It is not unusual for Jamaica to be experiencing rain at this time of the year," Ronald Moody, head of the applied meteorology section in the climate branch at the Met Service, told Loop reporter Claude Mills.  

"We normally experience a peak of rainfall in October and this continues in November before tapering off. I don't think it is going to last the whole month," he said.  

Speaking from a historical perspective, he said that in the past, Jamaica has had that sort of heavy rainfall at the tail end of the hurricane season. 

"I believe that it was in the years 2003 to 2004, between October and November, we had a lot of rain to the extent that the ferry was flooded, and the area of Six Miles was flooded and people had to be driving in it up to their car wheels," he reminisced. 

In the meantime, the 24 hour forecast from the Met Service predicts that tonight, there will be lingering showers especially across northern and southeastern parishes. Actual rain figures may not be available until next week. 

Even though 2017 has been a year for maximums, Moody does not subscribe to any of the environmental conspiracies making the rounds about unpredictable weather patterns and super storms, and super-high temperatures. He said that higher temperatures worldwide could be a 'new normal'.

"A number of areas around the world have been experiencing higher than normal temperatures and for many months, the Met Service has been predicting above normal temperatures," he said matter-of-factly.  

August 03, 2017 saw the extreme maximum temperature record being broken in Kingston, Jamaica with the maximum temperature recorded at the Norman Manley Int’l Airport being 36.9°C

So Jamaicans may need to just start getting used to screwy weather, and instead of cursing the rain, just put on a raincoat, sing and dance a la Gene Kelly, or just grin and bear it. This may be the new normal.