Believe it or not, here in Dominica we are not in “rainy season”. The Dominican Meteorological Service says we are in a “low level trough” which may produce more rain for the next 24 hrs. I am starting to believe after 5 days of downpour in January that calling June to November the “rainy season” is quite misleading. June-November may well be hurricane season but it is certainly not the only time to expect extended heavy rains here in Dominica.
I remember our first Christmas on island. It rained for a week straight… and I don’t mean drizzle, I mean deluge. While all the rain gives Dominica it’s green, lush foliage it also brings mudslides, landslides, unusable faucet water, and puddles in potholes that may lead to Narnia. Taxis get backed up, electronics and shoes take a real beating and the mosquitos come to play.
Anyway, here is a little graph about monthly average rainfall in Roseau just to give you an idea …
Here on the NW part of the island (Picard and Portsmouth), we certainly don’t get as much rain as Roseau or the interior part of the island. I guess it does rain more from June to November, but it’s good to be prepared for rain all year round. Here are some survival tips for weathering Dominica downpours:
- Always carry an umbrella, even when it appears gorgeous outside.
- Always keep extra bottled water at home for drinking, cooking, bathing etc. As the rain gets heavy, the water coming out of the faucet progresses from clear to light brown to dark brown to white and eventually back to clear. This progression may last for hours or days and it will interfere with keeping a household running. Sometimes the water is turned off completely to help the water station filters catch up. It helps to keep a supply of disposable paper products and plastic utensils so you don’t have to deal with dirty dishes stacking up in the kitchen during extended heavy rains.
- Invest in a waterproof box, bag, or backpack that will keep your cell phone, digital camera, and electronics dry. You can usually find these at dive shops or sporting good stores. Some students use ponchos over their backpack or a waterproof backpack cover which is a great way to protect your lap top from the rain.
- Keep bug spray in your backpack.
- Wear shoes that have good soles with traction.
- When lightning and thunder occur unplug your electronics and appliances.
- If a local warns you to stay away from an area (beach, river, hiking trail etc) because of rain, listen to them. They know what they are talking about.
In the meantime, enjoy listening to the rain from inside, read a book, take a nap or watch a movie. Isn’t that what rain is for ?
PS. To all the newbies, I promise it will get better! The weather is not like this all of the time. Don’t back your bags just yet.