Warning issued as Caribbean enters wet season

Caribbean drought

The Barbados-based The Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) says while much of the region observed the usual rainfall or less, leading to short term drought in several islands, the transition between the wet and dry seasons is usually still characterised by frequent wet days and wet spells, leading to concerns of flood and flash flood potential.

In its latest Caribbean Climate Outlook publication, CIMH said that during the period June to August this year, Antigua, Barbados, the northern Leewards, southern Hispaniola, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Tobago experienced short term drought.

But it said during the period October to December this year, the forecasts suggest “no strong deviation” from the usual case of frequent wet days and wet spells that could result in floods “though recurrent dry spells may affect crop growth except in the Lesser Antilles.

It said that long-term drought is possible in Antigua and Cayman Islands.

“The region will also transition into the milder half year, with a few heatwaves initially increasing heat stress in many areas southwards of Guadeloupe,” CIMH noted.

It said that regarding the drought situations up to December, Grand Cayman, southernmost Belize and southernmost Hispaniola have seen long term drought developing, while short term drought is seen in Antigua, parts of Barbados, northern Belize, southernmost Cuba, southern Hispaniola, eastern Jamaica, northern Leewards, St. Lucia and Tobago.

The CIMH said that shorter term drought will possibly remain in northern Belize by the end of December and that long term drought will possibly remain in Cayman and possibly appear in Antigua by the end of November.

In its predictions for the climate outlook during the first three months of 2019, the CIMH said night- and day-time temperatures across the Caribbean are forecast to return to cooler levels by December, making January to March comfortable for most, although perhaps still above normal.

“Further indications are that January to March – which are part of the dry season in most areas – may be drier than usual in the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, western Guianas and the Windwards, whereas Cayman may possibly be wetter than usual.”


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