Dry start to 2020 forecast
Samoa can expect a dry start to the new year with forecasters predicting below average rainfall for the first few months of 2020.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment's Meteorology Division says that rainfall in Samoa will "most likely [be] below average" from January to March this year.
Despite Samoa still being in the middle of cyclone season, the prediction also applies to the first six months of the year, with forecasts reporting rainfall will remain in the average to below average bracket.
The same pattern of rainfall was recorded by the Meteorology office for the September to November 2019 period.
October registered the most rainfall for the period. Afulilo, the wettest station, registered a total of 869.5mm of rain for the month.
"In the three monthly period of September to November 2019, the status of the rainfall recorded generally “average to below average," according to a new report released by the Meteorology Division entitled "Seasonal Rainfall Outlook: January to March 2020".
"Afulilo received the highest total rainfall of 869.5mm followed by Afiamalu with 812.8mm. In contrast, the lowest total rainfall was recorded at Nu'u with 333.4mm followed by 'Aopo with 378.0mm.
"October recorded [an] abundance of rainfall evidently at the southern stations at Afulilo, Lepa, Lotofaga and Saoluafata."
The Samoa Meteorology Division also reports that the EL Nino—Southern Oscillation remains neutral and anticipates slightly warmer anomalies for early 2020.
(The index measures water surface temperatures for the Pacific Ocean; positive anomalies are associated with warmer seas and negative anomalies drops in temperature.)
"In the Pacific, positive anomalies between +1.00C and +1.50C recorded at the western to the central equatorial Pacific with an evident extension of this zone to the southeast across Tuvalu and Samoa," the
"Cool anomalies of sea surface temperature were observed between –0.50C to –1.50C around the southeast of [Papua New Guinea] and parts of Vanuatu."
The seasonal outlook comes just as the Vanuatu Meteorology Department warned that the country's southern islands are in the grip of a meteorological drought, as reported by Vanuatu Daily Post.
Last October Government forecasters warned of an elevated risk of tropical cyclones this year as the country entered what was described as an "active cyclone season".