BMS: Brace for active hurricane season & more heat

Barbadians should brace for an above-average hurricane season and the possibility of more heat in the coming months.

But, Director of the Barbados Meteorological Services (BMS), Sabu Best, is urging persons not to focus on the exact number of systems, but the fact that there is likely to be increased activity and take the necessary precautions.

Best delivered these remarks during the Public Information and Education Standing Committee meeting at the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), recently.

“The Atlantic Ocean is super charged, and we must be ready too. We will see some short intense isolated heavy downpours, just like last year. Isolated rapid onset events which mean you will get short lead times for watches and warnings. So, you have to make sure you have the mechanisms on your person to be alerted as soon as possible for these events,” he advised.

However, the Director noted that many hurricane prediction centres have not yet issued projections for the 2024 hurricane season.

He explained that the rising sea surface temperatures and excess heat were two key drivers for the 2024 hurricane season.

Best added that the El Niño phenomenon was currently being experienced, with trends leading towards the La Niña as the hurricane season approaches.

In relation to the heat, the Director said that figures over the last 10 years showed above average temperatures.

He added that January and February 2024 were already off to a “head start” in terms of temperatures recorded and cautioned that the island was on course for more uncomfortable nights in the hot season, particularly when it peaked in September.

“If this continues where we have above normal sea surface temperatures, then we can expect the hot season to be on par with last year, and I would not be surprised if we break [the] record again,” he said.

As a result, Best is cautioning farmers, particularly those in coastal areas, to take the information into account and plan accordingly for the months ahead. He warned that there was a possibility that vegetation would not have enough water to thrive.

Meanwhile, Chief Information Officer at the Barbados Government Information Service, and Chair of the Committee, Tyson Henry, called for synergy among all stakeholders and collaboration on the messaging to alert the population.

“There is a desperate need for us to come up with solutions to reach people…. Let us speak as one entity to sensitise the public,” Henry said.

This was supported by Programme Officer at the DEM, Simon Alleyne, who noted that the Department’s aim was to work with its partners to find creative ways to send information out to the public. (JRB/BGIS)

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