Father's Day was the hottest day of the year so far in southern JamaicaThursday, June 24, 2021
The summer is here!
And the season has announced itself with a spell of hot weather that has inspired funny memes about God and baking, and sent Jamaicans scurrying to purchase fans and air conditioning units to ward off the interminable heat.
According to information obtained by Observer Online from the Meteorological Service of Jamaica, Father's Day, June 20 was the hottest day of the year so far for southern parishes, including Kingston and St Andrew where the Shortwood Teacher's College station recorded a high of 36.1 degree Celsius.
"For most southern parishes, it was particularly hot on June 20th, the hottest day experienced so far in June, and it can be inferred that it was the hottest day of the year," meteorologist Adrian Shaw, head of data processing in the climate branch of MSJ, said.
You can already see the local wits and Internet trolls having a field day with information like this. However, chances are that the summer will only get hotter as the season progresses.
During the period June 16-21, 2021 the weather was dominated by a high-pressure system (linked to very strong winds) coupled with a plume of Saharan dust and associated dry air that persisted across the tropical North Atlantic Ocean and sections of the Caribbean, including Jamaica.
"Although the dry air associated with the Saharan Air Layer often suppresses rainfall activities, the reverse is a greater presence of dust and hazy skies as well as warmer temperatures," climate services specialist Glenroy Brown explained to the Jamaica Observer.
Through the period of June 16-21, temperatures across Jamaica had increased significantly above the average in some areas when compared to the last three years (the warmest years on record globally) due to the presence of the Saharan dust, reduced cloud cover and a persistent high-pressure system.
This year's June temperatures were hotter when compared to last year, but fell short of the extremes experienced in 2019. One particular concern is that Santa Cruz, which has been traditionally a hot town, may be trending warmer.
A total of nine stations across the island were examined to compare the extreme temperatures during the hottest months (June-September) in Jamaica from 2018-2021.
During the period (June 16-21, 2021), the data showed that all stations had recorded higher than average temperatures, however, when compared to the same period (June) over the last three years (2018-2020), most fall short of the record for the highest extreme temperatures in June.
The analysis indicated that Bengal Farm in St Ann recorded the highest June temperature for that station. The three stations that recorded the highest temperature readings for the June 16-21, 2021 period are Bengal Farm (St Ann), Shortwood T.C. (St Andrew) and Santa Cruz in St Elizabeth. Coincidentally, Santa Cruz recorded a high of 36.2 degree Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday, June 21.
The bad news is that as hot as it has been, the island is not currently experiencing a heatwave.
"Jamaica is currently in what we considered to be our hot season. During the period of June-September, temperatures are expected to increase significantly. Although heatwave is a widely understood term to describe sequences of unusually hot weather during the summer season, Jamaica is not currently experiencing a heatwave. However, we are experiencing periods of hot spells with heat stress-related impacts," Brown said.
Heatwave refers to a period of prolonged abnormally high surface temperatures relative to those normally expected temperatures. Heatwaves may span several days (at least two or more days).
The forecast for the upcoming three-month period of July to September indicates that rainfall amounts are likely to be near-normal to above-normal, with above-normal temperatures. Warmer than normal temperatures are expected and should be more noticeable on days with little or no rainfall. Heat-stress impacts are therefore likely to increase, the Met Office told the Jamaica Observer.
One spot of good news is that Jamaica will not experience the extreme highs of the summer of 2019 when the location at Sangster International airport clocked a record 36 degrees Celsius on September 30, and the location at Shortwood Teacher's college registered a sweltering 39.1 degrees Celsius.
"At this time, there are no indications that extreme temperatures will reach the record values that were experienced in 2019 at some locations across the island.
Therefore, one should expect hot summer with occasional showers to overcome the current drought conditions across sections of the island," Brown said.
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