(Observer)After a few days of heavy downpours, Antigua and Barbuda is now preparing to face a different meteorological challenge, as an Excessive Heat Watch has been issued. The watch is set to take effect from 8am on Tuesday, August 22, and will remain in place until 5pm on Tuesday, August 29.
With temperatures forecast to feel like 100 degrees Fahrenheit or even higher, the population is urged to take immediate precautions to safeguard against heat-related illnesses. Meteorologists are predicting that a combination of light winds and relatively high humidity may lead to a surge in the heat index, resulting in dangerously hot conditions across the islands. Health authorities are urging all residents to be cautious as the intense heat places everyone at risk of heat-related illnesses.
The Director of the Antigua and Barbuda Meteorological Services, Dale Destin, emphasised the need for residents to remain vigilant during this period of anticipated excessive heat. He advised citizens to take necessary precautions to stay cool and hydrated, to minimise outdoor activities during peak heat hours, and to keep an eye out for any signs of heat-related illnesses.
“Avoid the midday sun, drink more than the usual amount of water to stay hydrated … try avoiding outdoor activities during the warmest part of the day – generally between 10 and 2 or 3 pm,” he warned. Staying in air-conditioned buildings is ideal, Destin added.
While the advisory covers the entire population, it specifically highlights sensitive groups who are more vulnerable to the heat’s adverse effects. This includes the elderly, young children, individuals with chronic health conditions such as respiratory issues, heart ailments, or psychiatric illnesses. Furthermore, people engaging in outdoor labour or exercise, homeless individuals, and low-income earners are also part of the cautioned groups.
Meanwhile, Destin said the amount of rainfall will continue to diminish throughout the week. “By the time we get to tomorrow then that possibility of rainfall will drop to zero to one millimeter and that will pretty much be the trend for the week as we go forward,” he said.
Despite the prolonged downpour, Destin revealed that Antigua, on average, only received approximately 2.5 inches of rainfall over the weekend.