Last year was the sixth driest year in recorded history on Grand Cayman, with 10 of 12 months seeing below average totals of rainfall.
According to a report issued by the Cayman Islands National Weather Service last week, rainfall in 2014 was 14.28 inches below the 30-year annual average of 56.20 inches. The 41.92 inches of rain for the year was the least since 35.63 inches fell in 1997.
However, the year started with one of the wettest Januarys on record, when 5.93 inches fell during a month that averages only 2.04 inches.
“The total was the third wettest January since records began in 1957 and the highest since the record year of 2003,” the report stated.
More than an inch of rain fell as a result of three separate cold fronts in January 2014, with the most – 1.93 inches – coming from a front that moved across the Cayman area on Jan. 15.
After January last year, the only other month that saw higher than average rainfall was April, when 1.03 inches more than the normal 1.27 inches fell during the month. Most of April’s rain fell on a single day, when a surface trough brought an accumulation of 1.67 inches on April 12.
July and November saw significantly less rain than normal, with July being 3.14 inches below average and November being 4.07 inches below average. July would have been even drier if not for 1.68 inches of rain that fell as a result of a passing tropical wave on the 26th.
Other notable weather systems
Although March 2014 was drier than normal, with rainfall amounting to only 0.37 inches for the entire month, high pressure over the Gulf of Mexico brought brisk northeasterly winds and rough seas across the Cayman Islands area four separate times during the month and then again on April 2.
The first tropical wave moved across the Cayman area on June 6, bringing an inch of rain to Owen Roberts International Airport.
The first rain event that brought more than 2 inches of accumulation occurred on Sept. 22, when a passing tropical wave dumped 2.3 inches on Grand Cayman.
The heaviest rain of the year occurred on Oct. 24/25 when the remnants of Tropical Storm Hanna – the only named tropical cyclone to have any sort of impact at all on Grand Cayman during 2014 – interacted with the first cold front of the year and caused 3.3 inches of rain on Grand Cayman. Lingering moisture from the front resulted in another 1.07 inches of rain on Oct. 27.
Even though less rain than normal fell in September and October, they were still the wettest two months of the year in 2014, as they normally are. The wettest month of the year was October, with 6.71 inches of rain, followed closely by September, which saw an accumulation of 6.58 inches during the month.