Chances of drought continuation in the C'bean have increased – expert

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Chances of drought continuation in the C'bean have increased – expert

Thursday, March 26, 2020

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The Barbados-based Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) says with weak El Nio conditions forecast to persist, chances of drought continuation and recurrent dry spells during this transition period between the dry and wet season are increased.

In its latest Caribbean Climate Outlook Newsletter, released here on Thursday, it said that for the period April to June, heatwaves will start occurring locally into May.

“Region-wide, extreme heat is unlikely. The frequency of wet days and wet spells should be initially low, but increase along these months. The chance for extreme wet spells tends to emerge in April or May, with some concern for flash flood and flooding potential arising then, in particular in the Guianas,' it noted.

CariCOF noted that for the period December 2019 to February this year, long term drought developed in many areas in the Caribbean. It said temperatures were significantly above average, though comfortably cool during this major part of the Caribbean's cool season which runs from December to March.

CariCOF said that before entering the Caribbean's wet season in May-June in the Windward Islands, a likely reduction in water availability is due to evolving, or possible, long term drought in all countries and territories except Guadeloupe.

It said frequent dry spells until May may pose water stress to sensitive crops and cause significant wildfire potential.

“However, concern for flooding and flash floods will gradually grow, as extreme wet spells may occur. Rising temperatures and the possibility of heat waves into May will make the heat uncomfortable at times.”

In a brief climate outlook for the period July to September, CariCOF noted that the middle of the wet season may end up drier than usual in Barbados, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago and the Windward Islands, but possibly wetter than usual in the Bahamas and the Greater Antilles.

It said transitioning out of the wet season, the Guianas may be wetter than usual.

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