CariCOF: Record Heat Predicted for the Caribbean

CariCOF: Record Heat Predicted for the Caribbean

The Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) has predicted near-record heat in the Caribbean region from April to September 2024, with sweltering conditions expected in August and September. This forecast’s implications include an increased risk of heat stress among vulnerable populations and small livestock due to high temperatures and rising humidity in September. The need for cooling solutions is expected to rise earlier and faster than in previous years, peaking in August and September.

This forecast predicts an increase in heat compared to previous years up to June 2024, with Barbados projected to experience between thirty (30) and fifty (50) heatwaves. With the above in mind, please see the below that can assist in the alleviation of feeling the heat:

Drink Plenty Fluids

Water assists in regulating body temperature and allows the body to cool off when the environment gets warmer. Cold water is better, and (according to The Red Cross) one should aim to drink at least three-quarters of a gallon of water daily. 

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Retreat to Cool Areas

Although air conditioning units are a great addition, not all have access to them. If it is possible to spend two to three hours in public areas that have a cooling space, this measure can help to avoid heat-associated illnesses. In addition, one should avoid going outside during the hottest period of the day. As the day progresses to evening, move to the coolest part of your home. 

Skip the Cooking

Stock up on foods that are either microwave-ready or can be eaten without any warm preparations. Unnecessarily using your stove during a heat wave can make your living space much warmer.

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Plan Outdoor Activities

If you have errands or outdoor chores that require attention, try to do them early or late in the evenings to avoid peak temperatures. Stay in the shade where possible if venturing outside.  

Stay in Touch

For those of us who have elderly relatives who live alone, check in on them. Their individual ability to regulate body temperature is significantly lowered, and any heat-related illnesses are difficult to detect.

Dress for the Occasion

Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing made of natural fibers to keep cool. For example, tank tops, light-colored shorts, and t-shirts made of cotton or linen are breathable and will assist in regulating your body temperature. Unlike polyester and other synthetic materials that make you sweat, perspiration becomes stagnant, and you will not cool down. In addition, dark clothing will attract heat.

Watch your Pet(s)

If your pet seems listless, unable, or unwilling to move, it may be suffering from the heat. It must go to a veterinarian immediately. 

Recognize the Symptoms

Individual heat tolerance varies; however, prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures can make one feel ill. Heat exhaustion is indicated by symptoms such as heavy sweating, weakness, and digestive issues. Retreat to a cool area, rest, and drink plenty of fluids. 

Note: Heat stroke is very serious and is characterized by a body temperature over 103°F, red skin that does not produce sweat, a rapid pulse, and confusion. Remember heat stroke requires immediate medical attention.

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