‘Absolute drought’ and high winds expected to continue

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JERSEY could be heading towards one of its most prolonged periods of ‘absolute drought’ in recent years.

Following 20 days without rain, Jersey Met has forecast that the current spell of dry weather, accompanied by cooling winds from the north-east, is set to remain for at least another week.

Data for the past three years shows four periods of absolute drought – defined as a minimum of 15 consecutive days with no measurable rain – with the longest being a 26-day spell from 20 July to 14 August last year. This came almost immediately after an 18-day stretch earlier in July.

Forecaster Bryan de Gruchy said: ‘The current dry spell is going to stay with us, probably for at least until the end of next week. There are one or two hints of something a little less settled, but they’re a long way off and by no means certain.’

Mr de Gruchy said there may be some slight relief from the wind experienced in recent weeks.

‘We’re looking at a north-easterly wind and for the most part quite strong and gusty, but it may ease off a bit over the weekend,’ he said.

Although full data for the ‘three-month meteorological spring’ period across March, April and May has yet to be published, the figures will show a noticeable lack of very hot days.

The highest temperature this year was 20°C last Sunday. Head of meteorology Paul Aked said the last time the Island had not seen a temperature higher than 20°C through the entire spring season was in 1983.

Provisional data for average temperatures during spring paint a less extreme picture – Mr Aked said that milder overnight minimum temperatures indicated an average spring temperature of 11.4°C, higher than the 30-year average mark of 11.1°C.

JEP nature writer Bob Tompkins warned that the conditions were impacting moisture content in soil, reducing food availability for a range of species, including birds and insects.

‘And because of the branchage there is going to be a certain amount of habitat lost, which will have a knock-on effect,’ he said. ‘It is bound to have an impact on survivability,’ he added.

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