BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Feb 25, CMC – Caribbean countries have been warned that the rainfall over the next three months may be “drier than usual” in some islands, resulting in a progressive increase of wild fires.
The Barbados-based Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF), in its latest Caribbean Climate Outlooks released here Monday, said with weak El Niño conditions forecast to persist, chances of drought and recurrent dry spells in the second half of the dry season are increased, and heatwaves will start occurring locally into May.
“That said, region-wide, extreme drought and extreme heat are unlikely. The frequency of wet days and wet spells should be low during March and April, but increase towards the end of May; the chance for extreme wet spells tends to re-emerge in April or May, with some concern for flash flood and flooding potential arising then.”
It said that a potential late start to the wet season (particularly in Belize and the southern-most islands), and the dry spells associated to it, may produce warmer temperatures than usual in a lingering dry season.
“This implies a build-up of heat discomfort, with the occurrence of a few heat waves becoming likely, especially towards August. Drought relief in affected areas may take several months, especially in the southern-most islands or Belize. Nevertheless, the occurrence of extreme wet spells is possible in any area during the wet season, with a corresponding rise in flash flood potential.”
CariCOF said that rainfall during the period March to May (MAM) may be drier than usual in the ABC Islands – Aruba, Bonaire and Curacaos – Belize, and the Lesser Antilles.
It said that forecast indicates slightly fewer wet days throughout the ABC Islands, Belize, Guianas, and Lesser Antilles.
CariCOF said that out of the 90 days in March-April-May, there are about 15 to 30 wet days in low lying, 30-50 in mountainous locations.
“Decreasing surface wetness towards the end of the dry season will progressively increase wild fire potential,” it said, adding that there will be fewer wet spells in the Leeward Islands and parts of the Greater Antilles “but little change in very wet spells, except a slight increase in the southern Caribbean and Guyana”.
CariCOF warned of the potential for slightly faster than the usual depletion of large water reservoirs and soil moisture in Greater Antilles and Leeward Islands.
It said that there could be rising flood potential towards May, especially in coastal Guyana.