Italian rainfall in last month

Figure 1

In view of the drought conditions in Italy, I thought that I would look back at the rainfall during the last month. It’s not 100% accurate because of missing observations from some stations. Rather surprisingly I did find some accumulations, not a lot, and probably not enough to halt the drought, but there has been some. Let’s hope there’ll be more in the coming months.

The Italian drought

I thought I would just look at the SYNOPs for Rome’s Fiumicino airport since the start of the year and see how severe the drought that is that’s been affecting that part of Italy, and by the look of things it’s very severe indeed. The total rain I have found from the available SYNOPs is 131.4 mm (fig 1), which is not a lot in almost seven months, and according to the observations that I have the last 24 hour rainfall they reported was 4.6 mm on the 29th of June.

Figure 1 – Data courtesy of OGIMET

According to the Wikipedia article on the climate of Rome, the average rainfall from January to the end of July at the airport is 341.6 mm, so in 2017, there has only been a little over 38% of the average rainfall (1971-2000 long-term average). So it’s no wonder that the Guardian reports that all the fountains in the Vatican City were turned off on Monday of this week. And the reason for the drought? The bulk of annual rainfall in that part of Italy falls outwith the Summer months, but during last winter and spring the mean pressure across Italy and the Alps was much higher than average, this limited the number of depressions and rainfall events to affect that part of Italy. If I remember the Adriatic was quite stormy at times during the Winter, but the rain probably fell on the east coast and the Apennines and didn’t make it across to the west, well that’s my best guess anyway.

Figure 2