Thursday 1 October, 2020

The heat is on: Met Office warns of hot spells

Amidst a recent spate of hot conditions peppered with bouts of intense rainfall, the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service warns that a series of hot spells are likely in October.

In its Rainfall and Temperature Outlook for October to December 2019, the Met Office said there’s a 70 percent chance of high temperatures (exceeding 33.9 degrees Celsius).

The risk is even greater in urban and built-up areas.

There is a risk for high heat exposure during the month of October. The risk is highest in the cities and urban built-up areas.”

“Both daytime and night temperatures are very likely to be above normal across all of Trinidad and Tobago during the October to December period.

“There is a greater than 70 % chance for maximum daytime and minimum night temperatures to be warmer than normal.”

“Concerns for short duration hot-spells and of hot days (days with maximum temperatures greater than 33.9’C in Trinidad and greater than 32.0’C in Tobago) are elevated for the October.'

“October is usually the end of the local heat season. October 2019 is likely to be the warmest of the three months. Several days during October are likely to feel far from comfortable due to high temperatures and high humidity values,” the Met Office said.

These hot conditions could pose a risk for a number of vulnerable groups as well as damage to crops and livestock.


Elevated risk of flooding

Meanwhile, rainfall for the October-December period is forecast to be normal to slightly above normal.

“October to December (OND) 2019 rainfall outlook indicates Trinidad and Tobago is likely to be as wet as usual for this time of the year. Rainfall totals are likely to be near normal across all of the country for the 3-month period OND 2019 (medium confidence).”

The Met Office said this suggests that the risk of flooding remains elevated, with rainfall conditions projected to at least 41 percent across the country.

“October is likely to be just as wet as usual with possible rainfall totals in the near-normal category (medium confidence)…OND 2019 is likely to be warmer than usual with both day and night temperatures likely to exceed their averages.”


Risk of riverine flooding, landslides

The Met Office said flash flooding is expected, particularly in October and November, with an increased risk of riverine flooding, landslips and landslides during prolonged rainfall periods.

However, there would be more reliable rainfall for water management and agriculture.

The Met Office warned of an increase in surface water ponding, which can promote mosquito breeding, leading to a higher risk for spikes in vector-borne diseases.


Low to moderate chance of dry conditions

The Met Office said there is a low to moderate chance for OND 2019 to be extremely dry (medium confidence) while the chance for OND 2019 accumulated rainfall totals to be in the lowest 10% of historical OND rainfall totals ranges between 8% and 20%.

Even though the odds for OND 2019 rainfall totals to be in the lowest 10% on record are low to moderate, should it occur, it can have far-reaching negative impacts on water resources in the upcoming dry season,” the Met Office said.

Largest rainfall accumulated totals for OND 2019 are likely to be as much as 1050.0 mm in Valencia, Sangre Grande, North Oropuche and surrounding environs in east Trinidad; while the smallest totals are likely to be as low as 453.0 mm, near Icacos, Cedros and other areas in southwest Trinidad.

In Tobago, the largest totals are likely to be near 800.0 mm in the vicinity of Hillsborough and other northeastern areas, while smallest totals are likely in the southwestern areas near Crown Point, Mount Irvine and environs.

October and November are likely to be the wettest of the three months.


Above normal rainfall from January to March 2020

The Met Office added that rainfall is likely to be above normal across most of the country in early 2020.

January to March 2020 is likely to be wetter than usual with a greater than 35% chance for accumulated rainfall totals to be in the above-normal category.


Stock up on supplies

The public is being warned to stock up on emergency supplies for at least three to seven days, especially for people in at-risk areas.

“Persons in flood prone areas should pack a flood-ready go-bag with clothes and essentials. Develop an emergency communication plan, which includes a place to stay,” the Met Office said.

People are also being advised to clear dry branches and overhanging trees, guard against the effects of excessive heat, clean drains, canals and guttering and to conserve, store and manage water in a safe and adequate manner.

Take measures to lessen impacts from flooding and excessive heat. Be sand-bag ready,” the Met Office said.

The Met Office is also urging the relevant authorities to carry out routine de-silting of reservoirs and riverine flooding channels, and to harvest excess rainfall now.

Farmers are urged to ready pumps for clearing waterlogged drains and to clear or clean poorly maintained and choked surface drains to prevent waterlogging.

For the Disaster Management Sector, officials are urged to sensitize communities on the forecast and its negative impacts and to revisit early warning information dissemination channels.

Authorities are urged to alert communities and citizens in flood and landslide-prone areas to act early.


Clamp down on illegal dumping

Waste management agencies are also being urged to ramp up efforts to prevent waste from entering drains and water courses in order to reduce flooding and water pollution.

The Met Office also urged officials to implement anti-litter activities to raise awareness on the impacts of poor solid waste management.

For the full report see here:  

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