Barbados’ hot and steamy weather has now been officially described as dangerous.
So much so that it has prompted president of the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP) Dr Lynda Williams to call for an islandwide discussion between occupational health and safety stakeholders, the labour movement and the business sector to get a consensus on a way forward about work schedules, as the country contends with the current heatwave.
The Barbados Meteorological Services over the weekend sent out a bulletin warning Barbadians of what it considered dangerous heat conditions.
In an interview with the DAILY NATION yesterday, meteorologist Andrew Daniel said people should expect the same conditions into this weekend, since another weather system, Tropical Storm Margot, was nearing the island chain and will cause the same conditions as Hurricane Lee did last week.
That will translate to light winds, just a few night showers, and temperatures in excess of 33° Celsius as the norm.
“We want to see Barbadians taking precautions in this heat,” Daniel said. “We can expect light winds to remain this week even as Lee has gone north. The next storm in the Atlantic ( Margot) will keep the pressure gradient slack so winds will be light through tomorrow (today) and probably drop even more when Margot gets closer.”
Williams said many Barbadians, mainly the disabled, the elderly, those confined to beds and children, were at serious risk of heat exhaustion or even stroke, and that proper hydration will be key in the coming weeks.
However, she was even more concerned about those working in the heat.
“The first thing we have to acknowledge is that climate change is a reality. We are seeing levels of heat we have never seen before in Barbados,” the family physician said. “We have to be wary of working in extremely hot conditions. I have seen people weed-whacking in 35° Celsius heat at 3 p.m. No one should be cutting grass in those conditions.”