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.