Dry spell set to continue as growers hope for showers

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Although Jersey Met says there is a risk of thundery showers later today and into tomorrow, with the high pressure over the English Channel dominating the Island’s weather, conditions are likely to stay dry and warm.

Up to today, about 15 per cent of the monthly average rain of 54.7 mm has fallen and that occurred in the first two days of May. This continues a pattern of below normal rainfall that began four months ago following a wetter-than-usual winter.

Between December and April 388 mm of rain fell, whereas the average for the period is 277.3 mm. However, February’s total was 56.4 mm – 14.4 mm below average. Rainfall in both March and April also fell short of the norm.

Notwithstanding the drop in rainfall, the Island’s reservoirs are almost at full capacity.

‘Our reservoirs are 95% full, which is good as we go into the summer season, compared with last year when we had a very dry winter and reserves were very low,’ a Jersey Water spokesman said. ‘The Island’s demand for water is currently 20 million litres per day, which is normal for this time of year. When all our reservoirs are full we have 120 days of water in supply.

‘However, we would like to remind Islanders that water is a precious resource and to always consider water saving measures, such as using water butts for harvesting rainwater for watering the garden or using a watering can rather than hose pipes whenever possible.’

Predictions that the dry spell will continue are causing further headaches for farmers, who are trying to recover from the wet winter and severe frosts in February. The Jersey Royal season is at least two weeks behind and there are also delays in planting other crops.

Christine Hellio, who farms in St Ouen with her husband Didier, says they have started irrigating crops, which adds to manpower costs. Moreover, as the soil dries out it gets dusty, which can make working in the fields unpleasant.

Mr and Mrs Hellio are avid weather watchers who regularly check six weather forecasts covering the Island, the UK and France.

‘We could do with some rain, but it doesn’t look like we are likely to get much this week,’ she said.

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