The National Weather Service told Cayman 27 the country has experienced 13 consecutive months of below average rainfall.
The prolonged dry period has prompted the Regional Climate Centre in Barbados to determine that the Cayman Islands is under a drought.
Farmer Clarence McLaughlin sells his fresh produce Wednesdays at the Camana Bay farmers market. He told Cayman 27 he’s still able to pull fresh water from the ground for his crops, but says other farmers are starting to suffer.
“Unless we get some rain pretty soon, some really really good rain, it’s going to be a bleak 2017 going forward,” he said.
The National Weather Service has recorded 13 consecutive months of below average rainfall starting with February 2016. Over that period of time, Cayman has come up 30 inches short of the 30-year rainfall average. This data prompted to declare a drought emergency for the Cayman Islands.
“The definition of drought is not something written in stone, it is something that has to be almost defined nation to nation,” said NWS Director John Tibbetts.
He told Cayman 27 drought or drought-like conditions don’t impact Cayman in the same way as it does our neighbors to the east.
“Drought for the eastern Caribbean is really really scary,” he said. “For the Cayman Islands, while it is of significance to us and while those that do do farming pay attention to its very strongly, it just doesn’t have the same impact as an agricultural-based society.”
Mr. Tibbetts said all it takes is one or two cold fronts to erase a monthly rainfall deficit.
Back at the farmer’s market, Farmer Clarence is optimistic the rains will come, but will it be enough?
“We’ve had a little rain over the last two weeks or so but we need a lot of rain, we need to substantial amount of rain to change things around otherwise as I said, 2017 is going to be a tough year for agriculture,” he said.