The Barbados-based Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) says the drought situation in the Caribbean is expected to continue into the early wet season as weak El Niño conditions are forecast to persist.
In its latest Caribbean Climate Outlooks bulletin released in Barbados, the CIMH said that for the period May to July recurrent dry spells are forecasted, except for the Windward Islands and Guianas.
“More frequent wet spells are expected throughout the region, except in the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) Islands.
“These spells may bring some level of drought relief, but also concern for flooding potential. Heat sensation will increase. Heat waves may occur from May in Belize and Trinidad and Tobago, and elsewhere from July onwards,” it warned.
CIMH said that severe “or worse” drought has developed in Antigua, Aruba, Barbados, central Belize, French Guiana, northern Guyana, Martinique, St Kitts, and eastern Trinidad on the shorter term and in southern Hispaniola on the long term.
It said that the shorter term drought is evolving in Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St Vincent, and Trinidad and Tobago, while long term drought is evolving in Antigua, west-central Belize, Cayman, Dominican Republic, north-eastern Guyana, St Kitts, Trinidad and Tobago and the Windward Islands.
In its bulletin, the CIMH said that the peak of the Caribbean heat season, which runs from May to October, usually occurs in August and September.
“While the forecast does not indicate whether rainfall in August to October will deviate from the usual for the late wet season, warmer temperatures than usual are likely. This implies a build-up of considerable heat discomfort, with the occurrence of heat waves being likely, especially in August and September. “
“Nevertheless, the average occurrence of extreme wet spells is highest from late August onwards, with a corresponding peak in flash flood potential,” CIMH said in the bulletin.