Met Office declares start of the 2023 Dry Season

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Met Office declares start of the 2023 Dry Season

The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service has declared the beginning of the 2023 Dry Season in Trinidad and Tobago. 

This year’s Dry Season is not expected to be without rainfall, as near-normal to above-normal rainfall accumulation is forecast between January and May. The Dry Season is also never without rain, but the overall intensity and frequency of showers, much fewer thunderstorms, are significantly reduced. 

According to the TTMS, most of the country is likely to get a percentage of average seasonal rainfall between 88% to 141%. 

Trinidad and Tobago receives, on average, three to eight 7-day dry spells and one to five 10-day dry spells in the dry season. For 2023, according to the TTMS, there is a 70% probability for three to five 7-day dry periods and one to three 10-day dry spells. 

In the Met Office’s 2023 Dry Season Outlook, there are relatively moderate to high probabilities (40%-100%) across most areas for seasonal rainfall totals to exceed the national Dry Season average of 412.0 mm. 

The TTMS added that there is a low (2%-17%) probability for totals to be in the lowest 10 percent of all dry season rainfall totals. 

Temperature-wise. the 2023 Dry Season temperature outlook indicates that near-normal seasonal mean, maximum and minimum temperatures are likely. Still, at least three to seven cold nights when temperatures can fall below 20.0°C are possible in January and February 2023. 

What does this mean for you 

Recent rainfall excesses during October and November 2022 have already influenced surface water flows and river levels. Wetter than usual conditions will increase surface and groundwater recharge and stream flow rates. 

Wetter conditions in the dry season usually increase breeding areas for mosquitoes, flies, rodents, and other wild creatures in and around homes and covered dry areas.  

The earlier part of the dry season is expected to be wetter than normal and will likely decrease bush, forest, and landfill fire potential. 

The latter half of the dry season is expected to be normal to drier than normal. Therefore, the probability of bush, forest, and landfill fires is likely to increase. This will likely reduce air quality and negatively affect persons with existing respiratory and other ailments. 

What should you do? 

The Met Office advises the public to review their household water plans and conserve, store and manage water safely and adequately. 

For the public sector and stakeholders, vulnerable communities need to be sensitized on the negative impacts of the forecast and actions to be taken and raise awareness on dry season agriculture, pest and disease control measures, and bushfires risk. 

Those in waste management should ramp up contingency plans to mitigate the possible occurrence of landfill fires. 

The Met Office is also advising those in public health to review contingency plans to manage dry season spikes in vector-borne diseases such as gastroenteritis and leptospirosis; and dust/smoke-related respiratory ailments.