Concerns raised over dry season in the Caribbean

The Barbados-based the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) says that while some parts of the Caribbean, such as the Leeward Islands, experienced above-normal rainfall in January, there are still concerns over the short and long term drought that might occur by the end of the dry season in May.

The dry season is expected to end in May.

In its latest Caribbean Drought Bulletin, the CIMH said that of particular concern is the southern portion of the eastern chain into Guyana, where both short and long term drought are likely to evolve.

“Frequent dry spells and short-term drought in a majority of places may pose water stress to sensitive rainfed crops.”

— Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology

“Monitoring water reserves and enhancing water conservation measures are recommended,” it said, noting that long term drought is evolving in Antigua, Barbados, northwestern half of Belize, Cayman Islands, parts of coastal and interior Guyana, St Kitts, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Reduction in water

It said that long term drought might possibly develop or continue in Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao (ABC islands), northwestern Bahamas, southeastern Belize, Jamaica, Sint Maarten and Suriname.

“Areas ending up in long term drought by the end of May may experience significantly reduced water levels in large reservoirs, large rivers, and groundwater during the dry season,” CIMH warned.

It said that during the month of January, normal to above normal rainfall was experienced in most of the islands of the eastern Caribbean.

“Towards the end of the Caribbean dry season, a likely reduction in water availability is due to evolving (or possible) long term drought in all countries and territories except French Guiana and Guadeloupe. In addition, frequent dry spells and short-term drought in a majority of places may pose water stress to sensitive rainfed crops,” CIMH said.

“There is growing concern for flooding and flash floods in Belize and the islands from April onwards, as extreme wet spells may occur. Warmer than usual temperatures could make the heat uncomfortable at times.”