Climatologist warns: Brace for floods this year

The start of the 2018 rainy season will be declared in a few days as a Tropical Storm is currently forming in the region and could be heading to T&T.

As a result T&T citizens are being warned to prepare themselves for this season as it is being predicted to be worse than last year with June’s Tropical Storm Bret and “the great floods of October (2017)”.

This warning came from climatologist Kenneth Kerr, who spoke at the Wet & Hurricane Season’s Seventh National Climate Outlook Forum held at the Sugarcane Feed Centre, Pokhor Road, Longdenville, Chaguanas.

The forum was hosted by the T&T Meteorological Services in collaboration with the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute.

Kerr said that the Met Office predicts a 42 per cent chance of a near normal hurricane service and a 25 per cent of an above average hurricane season for 2018.

He added that there averages about one to four named storms, of which one or two can become hurricanes.

“In the most likely case, three named storms with one becoming a hurricane,”
he said.

“This season will see high impact tropical waves, heavy rainfall, high winds, hot spells, tropical storms and hurricanes with risks such as floods, landslides and spikes in dengue cases,” Kerr said.

He added: “We are going to get maximum temperatures that are warmer than usual, night temperatures are expected to be warmer than usual with minimum temperatures exceeding the average.

With respect to hot spells, Kerr predicted higher than usual hot spell days during the Wet Season—45 to 55 per cent chance for at least 28 hot spell days, with August to October likely to produce the most frequent.

“Hot spells does not mean no rain…it means more intense thunderstorms,” Kerr said.

In the wet season, dengue cases increases and this year, according to Kerr will be no different as they expect spikes in dengue cases and urged citizens to empty all barrels and clean their surroundings.

Predicted cases, according to averages from last year can be from 95 cases to 242 cases as was detected in the St Andrew and St David Counties.

“It is going to be an erratic wet season with slower than usual onset ahead for 2018,” Kerr said.

He urged citizens and all other stakeholders to start preparing for the season now, “today,” by nailing down their roofs, strengthening infrastructure to houses and buildings, clearing drainages and drains especially farmers in flood prone areas and stocking up on sand bags.

“Our main hazard in the wet season is flooding because of where we live and how we treat the environment and what we do in terms of preparation. This season, it is possible to expect similar events like 2012’s Diego Martin flooding; 2013’s riverine flooding; 2014’s Manzanilla/Mayaro flooding where the road was washed away cutting out access for days, 2016’s Matelot incident and last year’s great floods of October,” Kerr said.

He assured that the Met office along with other agencies will utilise and maximise on all social media platforms in sending out Tropical Storm warnings and bulletins.

Source: (Rhondor Dowlat)

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