Barbados is in the firing line for more tropical cyclones, with predictions that the country will likely be impacted every year going forward, as systems move closer to the island.
Director of the Barbados Meteorological Services, Sabu Best, is therefore urging residents to be ready, as predictions also indicate the possibility of more storms and more intense hurricanes which intensify rapidly.
He delivered this prognosis, yesterday, as he addressed a hybrid press conference to mark the start of Hurricane Awareness Month at the Department of Emergency Management. Hurricane Awareness Month is being held under the theme: Be Storm Ready. The hurricane season runs from June 1 to 30 annually.
Mr. Best noted that the first Tropical Storm for the season was expected by this weekend, but posed no threat to Barbados.
The Director pointed out that over the lastclimatological period of 1991 to 2020, the number of tropical cyclones of tropical storm intensity and greater which passed within 50km of Barbados, was six.
He explained that a system passing within 50km of Barbados was basically a direct hit. He added that six systems passing that close to Barbados was “an all-time record” which beat the previous record from 1871 to 1900, which stood at four.
Noting that the new climatological average would range from 2001 to 2030, Mr. Best noted that Hurricane Elsa in 2021, would bring the average to seven.
“It is seven within a 10 to 11-year period. Almost every single year, we are being impacted by a tropical cyclone. Luckily the intensity so far is a tropical storm to category one hurricane.
“This is evidence that Barbados is in the firing line of more tropical cyclones and we have to be ready,” Mr. Best cautioned, adding that the increased frequency also meant the risk of impact was greater.
The Director further outlined that records showed that major hurricanes occurred once every 100 years, and the last one on record dates back to 1851. He warned that the “uptick cycle” in systems forming further south and closer to Barbados and impacting the island, was further evidence that residents needed to be on guard.
“Statistically the numbers do not look good for Barbados in terms of us escaping…. We are almost certain to be impacted in some form or fashion, almost every year,” he advised.
The Director explained the ongoing La Niña event and warmer sea temperatures in the north Atlantic Ocean, were two factors influencing the active season.