Caribbean urged to brace for increased rainfall this wet season

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.