Caribbean Urged to Brace for Continued Drought and Higher Temperatures

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Not only will several Caribbean islands have to endure heatwaves this summer, but many will also have to prepare for continued drought conditions through to September, this according to Barbados-based Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH).

According to the CIMH’s latest Caribbean Climate Outlooks publication, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao (ABC Islands) Belize and the Lesser Antilles will continue to experience drought situations and that “a progressive increase in wet spells are expected throughout the region, however possibly fewer than in most wet seasons.

“The spells may bring some level of drought relief, but also concern for flooding. Peak heat stress will likely be experienced between August and September, especially during heatwaves. Episodes of Saharan dust incursion are expected,” CIMH reported.

It said that as of June 1, severe, or worse, drought has developed in northern Belize, eastern extremities of Cuba, coastal French Guiana, the northern Leewards, western parts of Trinidad on the shorter term, and in Barbados, southern Belize, southernmost, Dominican Republic , French Guiana, southwestern Haiti, and Martinique and Trinidad on the long term.

Long term concerns are also evolving in Dominica, French Guiana, Martinique, Sint Maarten and Trinidad, and is possible in Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. Barbados, most of Belize, northern Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, St. Lucia, Tobago and the United States Virgin Islands.

Just last month, Cédric Van Meerbeeck, climatologist at CIMH warned Caribbean nationals to prepare for the heat season that can impact the health of citizens.

“The heat season is something that didn’t happen in the past. Yes, people feel more comfortable and sometimes even cold around Christmas time and you know that it gets hotter towards September. But it’s not really common knowledge that there is a six-month period that noticeably warmer than the other part of the year and that is May to October.

And during that heat season, you find that the levels of heat discomfort and heat stress [increases] so that’s impacting your health, also the health of some animals,” Van Meerbeeck said.

Over the last weekend, Kingston, Jamaica recorded its highest temperature ever, a sizzling 39.1 degrees Celsius leaving Jamaican health authorities to warn nationals about the excessive heat.

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