Record Rainfall claimed is questionable
The Hydro-meteorological office through the Ministry of Agriculture made a claim yesterday that the Rainfall which caused flash flooding in Georgetown and outlying areas was the highest recorded data since 1892. But the claim of a record has been brought into question both by a publication by Professor Robert Ramraj and the supporting documentation by renowned Guyanese meteorologist Chander Persaud who co-authored the records and analysis with Warren Forsythe.
In those publications the investigators provided details of a four hour downpour on November 1, 1974 during which 174 mm of rain fell. This figure disputes what the Government of Guyana said yesterday that “the 6 hour rainfall of 128.9mm or 5.1 inches which was recorded at the Botanical Gardens was the highest recorded data analyzed for Georgetown since 1892”.
Even the intensity figures are up for review. The Government’s met office claimed yesterday morning’s rainfall had an intensity of 21.5mm per hour, compared to 6.9mm per hour in 2005. That is the year we had the flood in the city and significant sections of the coast. But Professor Ramraj’s article mentioned intensities of 23 mm per hour in 1974.
Another issue that arose overnight was the effectiveness of the Doppler radar in warning Guyanese of intense weather pattern. The Government tried to absolve itself of any responsibility stating that the weather forecast up to midnight Tuesday “didn’t indicate or provide any warning of the weather condition experienced during “the Wednesday morning after.
In fact in typical manner the Guyanese leaders blamed each other while the residents and businesses suffered the consequences of flood waters for several hours after the now disputed “record” rainfall in Georgetown and parts of the coast.