The Barbados Meteorological Service (BMS) is advising Barbadians to brace for more dry weather and more water outages that could result from extended drought conditions, which are predicted to last into July.
Meteorologist, Bryan Murray told Barbados TODAY that while the conditions were somewhat routine for the first three or four months of the year, an ongoing El Nino climate pattern was likely to result in further dry spells into June, the first month of the hurricane season.
“The seasonal forecasting is still indicating below normal rainfall for May through July. This is somewhat unusual, but we are currently having an El Niño event going on and we haven’t quite had that historically in the dry season. Usually, conditions would remain dry through February and March, but in April, we would start to see rain coming in. The El Niño event, however is going to have an impact on the weather patterns and we are already seeing that,” he said.
People living in some communities have been enduring intermittent water outages as a result of prevailing drought conditions, which have prompted Barbados Water Authority (BWA) officials to conduct nightly shutoffs, to allow for the replenishing of some reservoirs.
Officials from the Barbados Water Authority however have been unable to give an update about the potential impact of the challenges on the service.
Earlier this month, the Barbados-based Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) urged Caribbean countries to “closely monitor water resources and try to conserve as much as possible, at least until June/July” as the drought situation in the region worsens.
In its latest Caribbean Drought and Precipitation Monitoring Network Bulletin, the agency expressed concern that the short-term drought situation could impact agriculture, as well as the flow in small rivers and streams.
Here in Barbados, Murray reported particularly dry conditions were prevalent in some rural parishes, especially St Lucy where conditions were creeping closer to an all out drought.
“Nothing much has changed over the last three months and Barbadians, particularly farmers should take note,” he advised.
While cautioning citizens about the unusual weather, the meteorologist indicated that there was some silver lining in the dry period.
“Usually during El Niño events, we tend to get fewer hurricanes forming, but it does not mean we will not be affected. They may be fewer hurricanes, but we must always be on the lookout in case one passes in our direction,” he warned.