Drought forecast for the region
Bridgetown – The Barbados-based Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) the Pacific has transitioned out of La Niña and ocean temperatures around the Caribbean are expected to be close to average.
La Niña is characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, compared to El Niño, which is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures.
“This makes it difficult to forecast unusual climate conditions as the Caribbean transitions into the wet season,” CariCOF said in its latest Caribbean Climate Outlook Newsletter released here on Tuesday.
It said nevertheless, long-term drought concerns are rising in parts of Cuba, while the effects of frequent dry spells across the Islands and Belize will likely continue, with a peak in wild fire potential and Saharan dust intrusions.
“There is a likelihood of heatwaves in Belize, Cuba, Jamaica and Trinidad from April, and from May elsewhere in the Islands. By contrast, the potential for flooding, flash floods and cascading hazards will increase to moderate or high into May,” CariCOf added.
It said current severe (or worse) short term drought has developed in southeast Cuba, eastern Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Jamaica and severe (or worse) long term drought has developed in Haiti, and St Vincent.
“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.”
CariCOF said that short-term drought situation by the end of June 2023 might possibly develop in the Northern Bahamas, Barbados, northern Belize, Grand Cayman, Eastern and Western Cuba, Dominican Republic, Grenada, eastern Jamaica, western Puerto Rico, St. Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States Virgin Islands (USVI). (CMC)