Caribbean 2024 heat season could climb to near-record heat

If you couldn’t stand the Caribbean heat season in 2023, then be prepared to be just as irritable from now until October.

The Barbados-based Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) in its Heat Outlook for April to September 2024 predicts that near record heat can be expected until October, particularly in August and September.

So how hot will the next three to six months be? The outlook says April to June, marking the transition into and early part of the Caribbean Heat Season in the Caribbean Islands and Belize is forecast to be hotter than usual.

Intense (near-) record night-time and daytime heat is expected by August and September. What are the implications? One is increasingly frequent and possibly intense episodes of heat stress in the vulnerable population and small livestock because of high temperature and increasing humidity in September.

Another implication is the need for cooling will rise earlier and faster than in most other years, peaking in August and September.

So how many heat wave days can the region expect for April to June 2024? Usually there are 15 to 20 heatwave days inland Belize and Trinidad, 5 to 15 in Jamaica, Cuba and Puerto Rico, and less than 10 elsewhere.

However, for the same period this year, the forecast calls for 50 or more heatwave days inland Belize; 30 to 50 in Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and leeward locations in the Windward Islands. Likely at least 30 heatwave days in Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.

Already several islands in the Caribbean region have recorded hot days in April. A heatwave advisory was issued in Grenada on April 6 after the island marked its 8th consecutive day with temperatures above 31.7 degrees Celsius at Point Salines.

Over in Antigua and Barbuda, an excessive heat warning was issued on April 6 as the Heat Index, or Feels-Like Temperature, was expected to reach a maximum of around 50 °C or 122 °F.

In the British Virgin Islands on April 8, a heat advisory was issued as the BVI Department of Disaster Management noted that a few minutes before 9 am and the temperature in Road Town was 85F with a heat index of 95.

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