Wed | Sep 30, 2020

Region warned to be prepared for floods, cyclones and landslides

Published:Wednesday | August 26, 2020 | 12:00 AM
Contributed photo

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC): - The Barbados-based Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum is warning of high flooding and landslides as well as strong tropical cyclones as the region comes to grips with the peak of the 2020 wet season.

In its latest Caribbean climate outlook released Wednesday, the agency said the peak of the wet season in Belize is forecast to feature particularly high flooding, flash floods, potential landslides and strong tropical cyclone activity.

“A possible La Niña event increases the probability of such hazards. Until October, heat stress will likely be higher than in most years due to very high humidity and temperatures. On a brighter note, copious rains should ease drought concerns during this period for the most part. The Guianas are in their hot, dry season until late November,” it added.

It said that as of August 1, severe or worse shorter-term drought has developed in Dominica, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Hispaniola, Martinique, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, while long-term drought will affect The Bahamas, Belize, Cayman Islands, the Dominican Republic, and the Windward Islands, excluding Dominica and Grenada.

“Long-term drought should slowly ease and concerns decrease in most affected areas, particularly after August. By the end of November, long-term drought concern will evolve in Martinique, Suriname, and Trinidad, and may possibly persist in parts of western Belize, Dominica, coastal French Guiana, northern Guyana, St Lucia, St Vincent, and Tobago.”

The agency said that there are indications that climatic conditions during the early 2020-21 dry season may be characteristic of a La Niña, being wetter than usual except in The Bahamas, Belize, Cayman Islands and Cuba.

“This results in a lingering potential for flooding, flash floods, landslides and associated hazards through the end of 2020. In addition, tropical cyclone activity may still occur as late as December. On a brighter note, chances are good that long-term drought impacts will completely subside, including in Trinidad, which may enter the dry season in a drought. Comfortably cool temperatures are expected,” it added.

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