Wednesday 17 July, 2019

Met Office: Watch out for hot spells from March-May

The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service is warning the public to stay cool as temperatures are expected to soar above 34 degrees Celsius during the March-May period 2018.

In its 'Rainfall and Temperature Outlook for Trinidad and Tobago, March to May 2018', the Met Office said that Trinidad and Tobago is likely to get warmer than usual conditions during MAM, with both day and night temperatures estimated to be above average.

There is a high chance for maximum temperatures to exceed 34 degrees Celsius in Trinidad and 32 celsius in Tobago on occasions during March and April. Chances for this to occur are higher in cities and built-up areas.

The Met Office also warned of short duration hot spells, where temperatures may rise above 34 degrees Celsius in Trinidad 32 degrees Celsius in Tobago during March and April.

The Met Office said as a result these high temperatures may cause:

- Reduced water availability, water levels and water stress later on in the season;

- Increased potential for grass, bush and forest fires as the season progresses;

- Increased potential for short periods of excessive heat. These can increase heat-stress for persons with heat sensitive ailments and for heat-exposed livestock and other animals;

- Excessive heat can also cause health and safety issues for persons working outdoors in exposed heat conditions;

- Rough seas/swell events are likely to continue disrupting marine activities and transportation and making sea-faring trips less comfortable;

- Likelihood of severe dust-haze outbreaks remains high especially during March and April.

Significant amounts of dust concentrations could increase air pollution and this can impact persons whose health and well-being are sensitive to dust (such as persons with asthma and

other respiratory ailments);

- Possibility of increased incidences of pests and diseases, such as the sweet potato weevil, which are associated with drier conditions.

The Met Office is encouraging stakeholders to take appropriate action as follows:

Health Sector

- Conduct sensitization and awareness campaigns on sanitation and hygienic issues to reduce  outbreak of climate sensitive diseases;

- Ensure adequate availability of pharmaceuticals for respiratory ailments;

- Increase awareness among staff on the possibility of spikes in cases with excess-heat related ailment, vector and air borne illnesses.

Disaster Risk Management Sector

- Continue to sensitize communities on the forecast and its negative impacts, including information about the impacts of bushfires, rough seas, hot spells, and possibility of reduced water availability;

- Alert communities in bush-fire prone areas so that they can take early action; 

- Revisit early warning information dissemination channels.

Agriculture & Food Security Sector

- Harvest water during the wetter days of the season;

- Use available water sparingly to ensure longer water availability for crop growing;

- Use mulching and trenching to prolong moisture at the crop root zone.

Water, Drainage and Energy sector

- De-silt water channels, canals and reservoirs;

- Persons working outdoors should take necessary protections to safeguard against harmful heat and UV radiation exposure;

- Implement awareness campaigns on the efficient use of water.

General Public

- Conserve, store and manage water in a safe and adequate manner;

- Be watchful for extremely hot days;

- Be watchful when burning debris.


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