Caribbean urged to brace for extreme weather

BRIDGETOWN – The Barbados Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) Tuesday said 2024 is shaping up to be a year of climate extremes in the Caribbean.

In its latest Caribbean Climate Outlooks bulletin released here, CariCOF said for the three month period up to July this year, a return to normal ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific and a near record warm Tropical North Atlantic Ocean are forecast.

“Therefore, the region enters an intense Heat Season with recurrent heatwaves, and a possibly early start to an intense wet season. Shower intensity and frequency are likely to sharply rise, resulting in high potential for flooding, flash floods, cascading hazards and associated impacts in most places, except the ABC (Aruba, Bonnaire and Curacao) Islands.”

But it noted that unknown is how frequent incursions of dry, dust-laden Saharan air into the Caribbean will be.

“If very frequent, the period will further be characterised by erratic shower activity — but frequent dry spells — and further buildup of ongoing drought, increasing heat and wildfire potential in May.”

CariCOF said that long term drought to the end of May is evolving in south west Belize, Grand Cayman, French Guiana, northern Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and might possibly develop or continue in the ABC islands, northern Belize, Dominica, western Jamaica, St Vincent and the United States Virgin Islands.

It said short term drought to the end of July is evolving in western and southeast Belize, and may possibly develop or continue eastern and north west Belize and central French Guiana. (CMC)

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