With heavy rain and isolated storms around Cyprus expected from tomorrow, January's status as the worst in terms of rainfall since records began should change.
A Weather Service official voiced concern that once the rain does arrive in earnest later this month and in February, it may be severe enough to cause damage.
Speaking to The Cyprus Daily yesterday, weather forecaster Stefania Loizou said: “The weather scene will change from Saturday afternoon.
“From then on there will be rain showers and isolated storms with the phenomenon growing more intense on Sunday and Monday.”
Loizou added that snow was also anticipated in the Troodos Mountains on Sunday and Monday.
“Temperatures from Saturday will also fall by 2°C- 3°C, moving closer to the usual average temperature for this time of year as it has been warmer than usual over the last few days,” Loizou said.
Also speaking to The Cyprus Daily, weatherman Panayiotis Michael revealed that there was some concern that the heavy rains would cause havoc once they do arrive.
“When you look at what is happening in some places in Europe, it is a possibility,” Michael said.
He also confirmed that January 2014 had, so far at least, been the worst in terms of rainfall in over 100 years.
“It is the worst since records began in 1902,” he said, adding that the second worst was January 1997 which was however, still significantly wetter than so far this year.
“This has been the worst January but we are expecting a lot of rain—even up until Tuesday– which should improve things,” Michael said. We may be covering lost ground as February is also expected to feature a lot of rain.”
The official said that only 3.5 cubic millimetres of rain had fallen so far this year which constituted 3% of the average for the month. In January 1997, there had been 12.4 cubic millimetres of rain.
He also noted that a European website (www.meteoalarm.eu) on which Cyprus is one of 33 participating countries displayed updated warnings of extreme weather conditions.
The website’s information is available in a number of European languages including English and Greek.
It was developed within the framework of the EMMA (European Multi-services Meteorological Awareness) Programme to provide the most relevant information needed to prepare for extreme weather over Europe.
The potential of damage aside, the rains will herald a welcome end to a drought that has seen a severe fall in the capacity of most dams.
The Paphos district has proven to be the exception with Water Development Department District Engineer Vassos Socratous yesterday telling reporters that dams in the area were at a satisfactory 76.7% capacity.
He did, however, note that there would shortly be a 15-20% drop in supply for agricultural purposes but which was not expected to adversely affect farmers.
Total dam capacity is at a low 52.9% compared to 87% at the same time last year.