What is a drought? Guernsey reached 'Absolute Drought'

After very little rainfall across the islands for 2 weeks, Guernsey officially reached the state of "absolute drought" with Jersey also reaching drought conditions the following day.

But what exactly is a drought?

Jersey Met say:

  • Dry spell: 15 consecutive days where rain does not exceed 1mm.

  • Partial drought: 29 consecutive days where the mean daily rainfall doesn't go over 0.2mm.

  • Absolute drought: 15 consecutive days where rain does not go over 0.2mm.

Rainfall is measured with a standard rain gauge, either manually or automatically.

A rain gauge is checked at 9am every day to record rainfall Credit: Jersey Met

Guernsey Airport hasn't measured any rainfall since 3rd April and so far this month just 1.7mm has been recorded, the average should be around 53.1mm.

But, it's not the driest April on record, that was in 1938 when 1.0mm was recorded and the wettest April on record was in 1966 with 130.4mm.

In Jersey just 4mm of rain has been measured at Maison St. Louis this month and if the patterns continues tomorrow, the island will also reach an absolute drought.

The driest April on record was in 2011 when 0.2mm was recorded and the wettest April on record was in 1998 with 162.4mm measured.

Credit: Roland Weihrauch/DPA/PA Images

So what does this mean for islanders?

There are three groups of people affected, farmers, gardeners and water consumers.

Guernsey reservoirs are at high capacity so there is no possibility of water consumption being affected in the island.

Gardeners who haven't been keeping an eye on their plants and regularly watering them, will be seeing some bad effects now.

If farmers are struggling with their crops, there is the possibility of irrigation which should return conditions to a normal enough state.

Over the May bank holiday weekend, Jersey had the equivalent of almost a months worth of rainfall in just 2 days, with 26.8mm recorded on 30 April, and 16.8mm recorded on May 1st.