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Caribbean Urged to Brace for Increased Rainfall This Wet Season


BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The Barbados-based Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) says the transition into the wet season is forecast to increase rainfall amounts in the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Cuba and the Guianas.

“By contrast, the onset of the wet season may be delayed by up to one month in the other islands and in Belize,” CariCOF said in its latest Caribbean Climate Outlooks Newsletter released here.

According to CariCOF, despite these contrasting scenarios, very wet spells and, possibly, extreme wet spells in the May to July period means a moderate to high potential for flooding, flash floods and related hazards, particularly in the Guianas.

It said ongoing short-term drought might persist in the Antilles from Hispaniola eastwards. Dry spells, though decreasing in frequency, may spark heat waves throughout Belize and the Caribbean Islands. “Incursions of Saharan dust typically peak in frequency at this time,” it added.

CariCOf said that for the period January to July this year, in the first three months, the dry season in Belize and the islands stood out in terms of moderate short-term drought appearing in many areas.

“By contrast, as is typical for La Niña, the Guianas, of which most parts transitioned out of the secondary wet season in February, were particularly wet. Temperatures were seasonably comfortable in most places.”

CariCOF said that moderate, or worse long-term drought has developed in southwest Belize, along the southern coast of Hispaniola, St Croix, St Kitts and the west coasts of the Windward Islands.

It said that a shorter-term drought, which is expected by the end of July, might possibly develop or continue along the northern Bahamas, southeast and west-central Belize, Western Cuba, and the United States Virgin Islands.

Long term drought situation, by the end of May, is evolving in Antigua, southwest Belize, and St. Kitts.

“Long term drought might possibly develop in parts of west-central Belize, Dominica, northern, parts of the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Martinique, Sint Maarten/St-Martin and St Vincent,” CariCOF said, adding that “areas ending up in long term drought by the end of May may experience significantly reduced water levels in large reservoirs, large rivers and groundwater during the dry season.

* We advise all stakeholders to keep monitoring the drought,” CariCOF said.


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