Cayman experiences driest, one of hottest years on record

National Weather Service Director John Tibbetts

Grand Cayman experienced the driest and one of the hottest years on record in 2016, according to the Cayman Islands National Weather Service.

Data from Owen Roberts International Airport indicated rainfall at less than half the 30-year average of 56.2 inches. With 27.98 inches of rain, 2016 beat the previous record low of 35.61 inches set in 1997.

National Weather Service Director John Tibbetts said only January beat the average, thanks in part to a cold front that moved through the island late in the month.

“The interesting part about it is, when we look at the annual rainfall pattern, no month (after January) was right, right, right. Every month was a bit under the average,” he said.

“I’m sure the farmers had a lot of pressure on watering their crops.”

He did not expect the dry trend to continue through 2017. Mr. Tibbetts anticipates a possible La Nina effect this year, but noted it is still too early to predict the influence of El Nino or La Nina weather.

“I think we are going to resort back to what would be the norm, closer to 50 inches of rainfall,” he said.

RELATED STORY: Forecasters predict higher temperatures, rainfall in first half of 2016 

RELATED STORY: 2016 shaping up to be driest year on record 

In contrast, rainfall in Cayman Brac beat the Sister Island’s average by 4.14 inches, reaching 37.98 inches. Mr. Tibbetts attributed the difference in part to rainfall that hit the island in August from Hurricane Earl. While the storm passed south of Grand Cayman, its northern tip reached Cayman Brac.

Temperatures on both Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac beat the 30-year average. Grand Cayman had an average temperature of 83.1 Fahrenheit, 1.3F above average. However, the number did not break the record high of 83.2F set in 2002-2003.

Cayman Brac continued its upward temperature trend at 83.9F, or 0.3F above average.

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