BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – The Barbados-based Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum says for the three-month period March to May, a persistent weak La Niña pattern is expected to transition to near neutral conditions during the upcoming season.
It says this may drive increasing uncertainty into the seasonal rainfall forecast.
La Niña refers to the periodic cooling of ocean surface temperatures in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific.
Typically, La Niña events occur every three to five years or so, but on occasion can occur over successive years.
In its latest edition of the Caribbean Climate Outlook Newsletter, the agency said the uncertainty points the MAM rainfall and wet day forecast towards climatology across most of the region.
“However, a small increase in wet spell frequency is expected for the eastern Caribbean which could lead to marginal flash flood and soil erosion potential in Belize and the islands through March. Extreme wet spells for the region are not expected to feature prominently during the upcoming season,” CariCOF added.
It said that short-term drought, up to the end of this month, is evolving in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) and Sint Martin and may develop or continue in Barbados, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Martinique, southwest Puerto Rico, St Lucia, and St Vincent
The agency said long-term drought up to the end of May is evolving in the Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, Antigua, parts of Belize, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Sint-Martin, and St Lucia and the USVI and might possibly develop or continue in the northern Bahamas, Barbados, western Cuba, the Dominican Republic, southern Puerto Rico, St Kitts, Trinidad, and St Vincent.