May 27, 2020

Caribbean warned of recurrent episodes of heat stress


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From Jamaica Observer

A woman cools off in a public fountain in front of the Sforza Castle in Milan, Italy, yesterday. Europe’s heatwave continues to wreak havoc across the continent, with a woman dying in Belgium and widespread travel disruptions in France and Britain. (Photo: AP)

, Barbados (CMC) — The Barbados-based Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) is warning about “recurrent episodes of heat stress” as the drought affecting the region continues.

In its latest Caribbean Climate Outlook Newsletter, the CIMH said that for August to October this year, “this period marks the peak of the Caribbean heat season, which runs from May to October and is likely to be warmer than in the past two years with several heatwaves possible in any low-lying area”.

It said that the main impact would be “recurrent episodes of heat stress to vulnerable individuals, in small livestock and poultry.

“Drought may continue in areas currently affected,” it said, noting, however, “a seasonable increase in very wet and extremely spells is expected across the region, which may bring some drought relief, but also concern for flash floods and flooding”.

CIMH said that a drought warning should be considered for northern Belize, Dominica, French Guiana, Martinique, St Barths and St Martin adding that long-term drought might possibly develop in Antigua,\, Barbados, south-east Belize, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, St Kitts, St Lucia, Suriname, and United States Virgin Islands.

Regarding the climate outlook up until January 2020, CIMH said that the tail end of the Caribbean wet season may be wetter than usual in the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao) and Trinidad and Tobago, but near normal and a slight tendency towards drier than usual elsewhere.

“Drought in the south-eastern Caribbean may therefore persist, while it may slowly alleviate in other affected areas. The average occurrence of extreme wet spells and corresponding flash flood potential diminishes in this season. Heat stress should quickly decrease after October, while episodes of Saharan dust incursions should be infrequent,” the CIMH added.

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