Dr Simon Mason of the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology in his presentation – “Caribbean Heat outlooks: Research and product development” urged Caribbean islands to brace for a heat-wave.
While speaking at the Caribbean Regional Climate Outlook Forum that was held on 31 May in St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr. Mason warned that a heat-wave, which is a prolonged period of excessively hot weather, which may be accompanied by high humidity is looming.
In noting that heat-waves have killed people in countries such as the United States and France, Dr. Mason said that more attention should be given to the impending phenomena in the region: “It’s time to investigate the problems of heat-waves and the best way to deal with it in this region,” he said.
While the BVI has not officially recorded heat-waves recently, in 2015 excessive heat prompted health officials to issue alerts for the community to safeguard children and elderly persons. In 2015 the Territory was affected by the El Nino phenomenon and the extremely hot days had local health experts concerned. The heat prompted an advisory for the prevention of dehydration in children, persons working outdoors, and the elderly.
That summer the El Nino situation spiked global heat records and the effects were felt here in the Territory. As a result the Department of Disaster Management in consultation with Health Disaster Coordinator, Dr. Ronald Georges issued a reminder stating: “With school back in full session parents with young children and persons caring for the elderly (ought) to ensure that they (children and elderly) are protected from the direct heat and that they are always hydrated.”
Dr. Georges said, “The main concerns we have in the health sector at this time are dehydration, increase in respiratory conditions and heat stroke especially among children and persons working outdoors. Although not many cases have been reported it is important that persons practice preventative measures. School administrators should ensure that children, especially those playing outdoors are given water breaks to refresh themselves.”