Caribbean much drier than before – experts

Port Works dam ran out of water several times in the last few years

The Barbados-based The Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) says since December last year, many parts of the Caribbean have become drier.

“Major concerns exist in the southern Caribbean, including from northern Guyana to Barbados and west to the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) for short term drought that can impact small rivers, streams and ponds, by the end of April 2019,” CariCOF in its February issue of the Caribbean Drought Bulletin released here on Tuesday.

It said that significant concerns also exist over long term drought that can impact large rivers and reservoirs, and groundwater by the end of May 2019, in parts of the eastern Caribbean, Jamaica, Hispaniola and southern French Guiana.

“In any case, the entire Caribbean basin should closely monitor water supplies for the next few months,” it said, warning that rainfall has been normal to below normal for the islands of the eastern Caribbean.

According to CariCOF Trinidad was moderate to exceptionally dry, while Tobago was moderately dry; Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Kitts normal; Barbados, Antigua and St. Maarten slight to moderately dry; St. Vincent normal to slightly dry; Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe normal to moderately dry.

CariCOF said conditions in the Guiana’s ranged from severely dry in northern Guyana to very wet in eastern French Guiana, and with most of Suriname being normal.

“Jamaica was moderately wet in the south to slightly dry in the west and east, but Grand Cayman was normal. Western Cuba was normal to moderately wet and eastern Cuba normal to severely dry; but northern Bahamas was normal to moderately wet. Belize ranged from severely dry in the west to normal in the north,’ CariCOF said in the bulletin.

Regarding the current drought situation, CariCOf said that portions of the Bahamas , Barbados, Belize, Cayman Islands, Guadeloupe,  Guyana, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Martinique, St. Barths, Trinidad and the US Caribbean territories have seen shorter term drought developing. With moderate long term drought being recorded in much of the Antilles and even severe to extreme droughts in small pockets of Guadeloupe, Hispaniola and Martinique,.

Shorter term drought situation by the end of April 2019 is evolving in the ABC Islands, Barbados, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago while shorter term drought might possibly develop in Antigua, Southern and Central Belize, Cayman, French Guiana, Guyana, Hispaniola, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts, St. Vincent and Suriname.

CariCOF said regarding long term drought situation by end of May, a weak El Nino is expected to contribute to reduced rainfall until April. And that long term drought is evolving in Antigua, Cayman, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Grenada Martinique, Puerto Rico  and Tobago.

“Long term drought might possibly develop in most other areas in the region,” CariCOF warned.

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