Drought not of immediate concern but could affect region later

With most of the Caribbean receiving normal to above rainfall over the second half of the 2020 wet season, there are no concerns the region will face any drought up to the end of first quarter of this year, the Caribbean Drought and Precipitation Monitoring Network reported in its latest bulletin.

Much of the Caribbean received average to above average rainfall in the second half of 2020.

However, there is some worry about what will happen later this year.

According Caribbean Drought Bulletin’s January issue, a drought warning should be considered for Antigua, southwest Belize, and southern French Guiana where long-term drought is “evolving”; while a drought watch should be considered for Grand Cayman and St Kitts where long-term drought might possibly develop or continue.

“There are no concerns over short term drought that can affect streams, rivers and ponds by the end of March 2021. However, some concerns exist over long term drought that can impact large rivers, reservoirs, and groundwater by the end of May 2021,” stated the Network which is led by the Barbados-based Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH).

“This is particularly so for southern Belize and French Guiana, and in the vicinity of Antigua where water resources should be closely monitored. The Cayman Islands and St Kitts-Nevis should also monitor water resources as a precaution against long-term drought.”

It noted that areas that ended up in long-term drought by the end of November 2020 may experience significantly reduced water levels in large reservoirs, large rivers and groundwater along the dry season.

Over the three-month period from September to November 2020, the islands of the eastern Caribbean were predominantly above normal, however.

The Caribbean Drought and Precipitation Monitoring Network advised all stakeholders to keep monitoring drought and look for its monthly updates.