Cool season will feature more comfortable temperatures and humidity
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC)— The Barbados-based Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) on Monday said that over the next three months, more comfortable temperatures and humidity will be experienced across the region.
“This period also marks the build up towards the peak of the dry season in the Caribbean region, which may be even drier than usual for most,” CariCOF said in its latest Caribbean Climate Outlooks bulletin released here.
It said that this is forecast to be associated with an increase in short and long-term drought concern, especially in Belize, the Guianas and Puerto Rico, the frequency of short dry spells and wildfire potential towards March.
“Nevertheless, the chance of intense showers in central and southern parts of Belize, the Guianas and in mountainous areas of the Caribbean islands, keeps the potential for flooding, flash floods and cascading hazards moderate to high there through January,” CariCOF added.
It said Belize will experience mostly heavy rainfall during the dry season, and that rainfall totals from January to March are likely to be the usual or less across the Caribbean islands and the Guianas.
As of December 1 last year, moderate or worse short-term drought has developed in Barbados, southeastern most Cuba, Grenada, most parts of the Guianas, Martinique, southern Puerto Rico, St Barts, St Martin, St Vincent, Trinidad & Tobago, while long-term drought has developed in southern Barbados, parts of northern Belize, eastern Cuba, southeast French Guiana, Grenada, Martinique, southern Puerto Rico, St Croix, St Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago.
It said at the end of March this year, short-term drought is evolving in southwest Belize, Grand Cayman, interior French Guiana, southwest Puerto Rico, and northeast Suriname, and may possibly develop or continue in several other areas.
CariCOF said that during the period April to June this year, temperatures are forecast to be higher than usual in most areas.
“Usually, no significant episodes of heat stress are expected during the Caribbean Cool Season. However, given persistently higher than usual temperatures, heatwaves might well be recorded this March, notably with very low soil moisture content,” CariCOF said.
It added: “This period marks the transition from the dry to the wet season, as well as the transition into the Heat Season in the Caribbean. The tropical North Atlantic Ocean is forecast to remain unseasonably warm, whereas the strong El Niño is expected to fade.”
It said unusually high air temperatures will most likely prevail in many locations through June 2024 and the occurrence of significant heat stress is expected to evolve.
“The risk of severe weather impacts, including flooding, flash floods, and cascading hazards may sharply rise in April or May, as the chance of an intense early wet season is higher than in most years. Historically, a reasonable analog to this year’s expected conditions is 2010, when regional drought was followed by extreme heat, rainfall and floods,” CariCOF said.