BMS forecasts low rainfall for Barbados

Rainfall predictions for this and the next two months are below average and Barbadians are being warned to prepare for possible water-rationing measures by the Barbados Water Authority (BWA).

A release from the Barbados Meteorological Services (BMS) says projections for April will be between 10 to 60mm, which is approximately 48 per cent below average. May, with a forecast of 10-90mm is about 19 per cent below average and June could be around 11 per cent below with predictions of 60 to 250mm.

The southern section of Barbados including “St Philip, Christ Church, St John, southern St George, most of St Michael as well as southern St James have been experiencing very dry top soils and short vegetation has been drying out over the past few weeks”.

These are also the areas where the large grass fires have been sparking. And while the problem has not been as acute in areas of high elevation, “rain accumulations have not yielded much for aquifers over the past few months”, says the BMS.

Rainfall in March has been very low, especially to the south of Barbados. (Picture courtesy BMS)

“Latest short-term climate forecast from the BMS for rain accumulation over the next few months (up until June) is expected to be below normal. Previous forecasts of an early start to rains in May are no longer expected based on the latest predictions. However, from a statistical perspective, there could easily be an anomalous day in the coming months that gives some minor relief, but quickly thereafter it returns to low rain accumulations.”

At the end of March, the Barbados-based Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) in its Caribbean Climate Outlook Newsletter, gave a long-term forecast of drought for the region.

“Long term drought might possibly develop or continue in Barbados, northern Belize, Eastern Cuba, southern Dominican Republic, Grenada, and Tobago.  Areas ending up in long term drought by the end of May are likely to experience lower than usual water levels in large reservoirs, large rivers and groundwater.”

The BMS says they are expecting some relief in June when the wet season starts, but these predictions can change and will be updated.

In the meantime, vegetation will suffer, grass fires remain “highly possible” until June, and crops which depend on the rain will not thrive.

Farmers are being advised to plant crops that handle dry conditions better, tae water to livestock out in the field use other best practices as recommended by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Barbadians are also asked to comply with water prohibition measures which may be put in place by the BWA. Under the legislation, potable water should not be used for watering gardens, lawns, grounds or filling of ponds, baths or swimming pools; washing roadways, pavements or garages or the washing of windows and building exteriors during such conditions. (SAT)


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