Heavy rainfall expected to end in July/August – Hydromet Office

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The Guyana Hydrometeorological Service says the current heavy, persistent rain may not end until mid-July/August.

In an interview on Wednesday with the National Communications Network, Head of Climatology at the Hydromet Office, Mr. Khomalchand Dhiram said the rainy season ends differently in the northern and southern parts of Guyana. He explained that normally, the transition out of the rainy season usually occurs in mid-July. In the southern part of Guyana, the transition occurs in August.

Mr. Chand said Guyana and other countries in the pacific are exiting the La Nina phase. This, along with the El Nino phase, is a climate pattern in the Pacific Ocean that can affect weather worldwide.

During La Nina events, trade winds are even stronger than usual, pushing more warm water toward Asia. Off the west coast of the Americas, upwelling increases, bringing cold, nutrient-rich water to the surface.

Mr. Chand said: “Now, that we coming out of this La Nina phase, it is likely that we may have an abrupt end of the rainy season. But the forecast is suggesting wetter than usual. So, all the way into July, as we transition out of the rainy season into the dry season, it will be wet.

“But that forecast is done with the current variable that we are looking at right now and the predictors responsible for the forecast. The good thing is that we update this forecast every month, so if there is any change, the Hydromet Office will be able to communicate that.”

Meanwhile, Chief Hydromet Officer, Dr. Garvin Cummings revealed that the above-normal rainfall dates back to December 2020 – with the exception of February 2021.

“There were excessive amounts of rainfall which means that the soil is saturated. Really, during May 25-31, 2021 was really the proverbial straws that broke the camel’s back because then the soil is oversaturated, hence, the situation that we are in now.”

Dr. Cummings said what is unique about this year, when compared to the devastating 2005 flood is that the severe weather is not isolated to any geographical space.  He was quick to note, however, that the current weather had placed “severe pressure” on the system, as well mitigation efforts.

“We may have seven days of continuous rainfall. But there are indications that we may have consecutive days of dryness as well. While the forecast is suggesting above normal rainfall, above what we would usually get, [when] we compare this year to the long-term average, we see that we exceeded that in some cases by 50 – 60 per cent, and in some cases, approaching to 100%. Note that we are just starting in June, so the rainy season is now peaking.”

In terms of the Hydromet Office’s capacity, Dr. Cummings noted that the biggest challenge is being able to effectively communicate not only the amount of rainfall, but its impact. Notwithstanding this, he pointed out that recent investments by the Government have aided in scaling-up the Hyrdomet Office’s forecast capacity.