Relief Unlikely for Drought Stricken Areas of the Eastern Caribbean

1 02 2019

Dale C. S. Destin |

According to the latest Caribbean Climate Outlook Newsletter (CCON), Anguilla south to Trinidad, including Barbados will most likely experience below normal rainfall for the upcoming season – February to April (FMA). This means that any drought occurring in these islands will likely get worse or remain unchanged.

Over the period October-December, severe droughts have developed or are ongoing across parts of a number of islands to include:

  • Hispaniola;
  • Guadeloupe;
  • Martinique and
  • Barbados.

A scarcity of rainfall in 2018 and mostly likely lower than usual rainfall through April 2019 have led to long-term droughts or concern of long-term droughts in many islands, according to the February to April Newsletter. These include:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Cayman;
  • NW Cuba;
  • Northern Dominican Republic;
  •  Grenada;
  • Martinique;
  • Northeast Puerto Rico and
  • Tobago.

CCON blames the likelihood of below normal rainfall for FMA on a weak El Nino, which is forecast to last through the period.

El Nino could last through the wet season, which is bad news, as it normally causes reduced rainfall and or droughts across most of the Caribbean – particularly in the wet season. 

El Nino refers to the unusual warming of the central and eastern tropical parts of the Pacific Ocean, which historically occurs every 2 to 7 years and lasting for 9-12 months, sometimes longer. It generally has the effect of causing drier than usual weather across the Eastern Caribbean.

We are in the dry months of the year. Traditionally, not a lot of rain fall across the Caribbean during FMA. It is a part of the heart of the dry season for the vast majority of the region, with only January-March being drier, as a whole.

The usual rainfall totals: February to April

The dryness of the season is normally especially evident across Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire – the ABC Islands, who have average rainfall for this period of below 75 mm (less than 3 in). It is not unusual for these islands to see zero rainfall during these months, in some years.  

Click here or the graphic above to read the full Newsletter

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