Monday, September 08, 2008

"blistering sunshine"

Had a nice few days "holiday" in San Juan, Puerto Rico this past week while Adventure Antigua was quiet. This is the time of year when most tourism related business slows down to the point where many businesses shut down all together. Many people ask why the the main off season happens at this time of the year and it has to do with the fact that most of our visitors come from areas that have miserable winters and save their vacation time for when their own weather is at its worst. Summer time in many European and North American places isn't that bad. (I can hear the Brits laughing after reading this last piece). People there want to escape to somewhere with good weather during the winter. The Caribbean is an ideal place for a winter holiday as the weather is just so nice at that time. The reality is that the weather here in Antigua and Barbuda is better than most places on earth with warm sea and air temperatures all year long with highs almost never as high as 90 degrees F (32C) and never lower than 78 F (25.5C). Rainfall is a funny one as most of our rain each month can come in a single day and sometimes we go without any rain for months. It's not uncommon for a high percentage of our annual yearly rainfall to come down in about a weeks worth of rainy days. I say this is a funny one because the weather men here say on the most sunny days that the weather will be "fair to partly cloudy" and that's as good as it gets here for them. You have never heard them say "tomorrow will be sunny and hot". That just won't happen and a cloudless day where the most tanned person will probably get the worst skin cancer causing sun burn of their lives will be forecast as "fair to partly cloudy". If they are really expecting a few clouds to roll across the brilliant sky then they will include "with a chance of scattered showers" in their forecast. For over 10 years i have been moaning about this because the international forecasters who use the simple animated forecasts interpret this "fair to partly cloudy with a change of scattered showers" in a slightly different way than the average Antiguan does. This pic shows a "fair to partly cloudy day with a chance of scattered showers":


This one shows a "fair to partly cloudy day":


I am not sure what a "sunny day" would look like as i have never heard anyone giving a forecast here in Antigua say it would be a sunny day. That would have the country dazed and confused I think. Not to mention scorched off the face of the earth probably too. The reason i have been so frustrated about this is that I know for a fact that people take one look at the UK/US interpretation of the "fair to partly cloudy" (seen here today):

and pick a different place to visit for their much needed vacation. I have had people tell me that they would have cancelled their trip here after seeing the 10 day forecasts but couldn't get any money back from cancelling flights. One day the forecasters here will figure it out i guess but for now you will just have to trust me: We don't get rain 365 days a year like yahoo weather says and we are sunny as hell most of the time. I have the skin cancers to prove it! A great place to see how much rain we are actually getting in Antigua is from a radar which shows in real time time where the rain is falling. This link: shows rainfall measured by Radars in Guadeloupe and in Martinique. If you are worried that this Yahoo weather and others with those silly forecasts may be right... just keep an eye on this link to see how badly they do at forecasting rain in Antigua and Barbuda. By the way, you kind of have to know where Antigua is on the map. It's the one just above Guadeloupe which is the one looking like a butterfly. You can also animate this link which will give you the motion of the rainfall showing you where it's going. If you are looking for a lush tropical jungle feel on your island holiday do not come to Antigua. I can recommend many islands in the Caribbean to go and find your little piece of Jurassic Park but Antigua is far to dry to be placed into that category.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't like sitting in the sun, I can actually feel it buring me. The only time I am in the sun is when I am on a boat or in the water. Both places you can't FEEL the sun on you most of the time. But, there have been many days in Antigua when I have actually prayed for a cloud!! Just one cloud pleeeaaassseee!! I don't want to get out of the water right now, but the sun is killing me!! In all of our 23 trips there, we have only had twice where it rained most of the day. On one of those days we went from JBR over to Pineapple because it never seems to rain on both sides of the island at the same time!! A cloudy day in Antigua is a wonderful rare day!! IMHO
Donna

Jodi said...

While I love the heat and sun (bring on those 90+ degree (F) days!), I'll take your fair to partly cloudy, or even your "chance of scattered showers" any day! But I do have to say, summer here in Cleveland is actually really nice. (I think we've actually seen one or two of those rain showers, by the way :) )

Jodi said...

We took a long walk this evening as the sun was going down. I wish I had my camera with me so I could take a picture of clouds for Donna - bunches of them (and this wouldn't have even been called "partly cloudy"), some backlit and rosy colored from the sun. all with the backdrop of a beautiful blue sky (and mid-60 degree temps). If we get out tomorrow night, I'll do that and e-mail them to you!

Michael P. Whelan said...

Eli, You failed to mention two significant points about the Antiguan Mr. Weatherby. The slightly tilted map of Antigua as the background behind his head, hanging on the wall, and the invariable prediction of Boating conditions, as being "Seas, Locally rough". Every single day, "cloudy to partly cloudy, Seas, Locally Rough." Honestly, these are some of the things, that within reason, are what go into making Antigua the magical place of lore, the charm and the romance of which the modern world should never encroach or erode. Again, within reason. A status, sometimes hard to measure or achieve.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, Im coming to Antigua in two weeks time, will be staying near St John's could u recomend some good diving company, which wont break bank ;)Thanks a million

eli fuller said...

Jolly dive our indigo divers would be close

Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm coming to Antigua next week and it shows cloud cover and 60% chance of rain most of hte week. Should I be prepared for it to rain the entire time or are these just showers?

eli fuller said...

no, it's amazing weather at the moment. Don't look at animated forecasts....