2019 to bring harsh dry season
Rainfall will be “scarce as gold” come 2019.
This, as the Meteorological Service (Met Office) has forecast a hot, harsh dry season for next year - one when every drop of rainfall and water counts.
In its 2019 Dry Season Climate Outlook for Trinidad and Tobago, the Met Office said below average rainfall is expected for the months January to March 2019 leading to much drier than usual and drought-like conditions.
The current outlook is based on multiple competing climatic factors particularly given the high chance for the development of El Niño – the warming phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).
Some areas in north, northeast and central Trinidad and southwest Tobago are likely to experience below normal rainfall while large areas in Trinidad are likely to experience near normal rainfall.
In its outlook for February to April, the Met Office indicated that the period is likely to be drier than average with greater than a 40 percent chance for accumulated rainfall totals in the below normal category, which suggests increased chances for the development of dry-spell conditions.
This below normal rainfall trend is expected across most areas of the country and will persist for the duration of the dry season, despite a few areas which are expected to receive the typical small amounts of dry season rainfall.
Temperatures are expected to be affected with daytime and night-time temperatures forecast to be much warmer than average.
Many hot days and hot spells where temperatures reach or exceed 34°C are highly likely, the Met Office added.
Drier, hotter conditions can lead to drought or drought-like conditions, increasing the chance for bush, grass, forest and landfill fires.
The conditions associated with ENSO are also expected to give rise to an increase in the number of rough and hazardous sea events.
In this regard, the Met Office has advised citizens to prepare for the 2019 dry season by having a water plan and conserving water by reducing personal, household, and work space water usage.
“Have a water backup plan that includes storing water to last 3 -7 days; find innovative ways such as collecting condensed water from your air condition to use for watering plants, washing your cars and other such activities; wash less often and wash larger loads at one time.”
Citizens were further urged to use water wisely with simple steps like turning off taps and taking shorter showers.
The Met Office also had a few tips for surviving the unbearable heat as heat on extremely hot days can pose a serious health risk.
Individuals with heart, respiratory and serious health problems are more at risk during extremely hot conditions as the heat can make these conditions worse.
Citizens should be sure to create a heat season plan: for babies, elderly and socially isolated persons, young children and young livestock, all of whom are especially at risk.
“Plan to listen to the Met. Service weather forecast so that you know if a hot day or hot spell is on the way; plan ahead to keep cool, drink plenty water, take care of others,” the Met Office advised.
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