heavyrainsBarbados, especially the farming community, should prepare for a drenching.

With meteorological officials forecasting “average to above average” rainfall in the first three months of the current rainy season, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Fisheries and Water Resource Management has issued a bulletin advising the agricultural community to take precautions.

This comes as weather experts predicted above average sea surface temperatures would “enhance precipitation” in this part of the Caribbean. The agriculture ministry, based on latest information from the Barbados Meteorological Services and other agencies involved in the Caribbean Agrometeorological Initiative, is recommending that farmers take a series of steps to protect their crops in the rainy three month period.

“We are now officially in the rainy season. Plant crops or raised beds to reduce the possibility of water logging. If your field is prone to water settling dig drains to move the water to lower lying areas away from your crops,” the ministry advised. “Remember that plants are more prone to diseases during this period due to higher humidity levels. You may need to apply preventative sprays on crops, for example, that are very susceptible to disease problems.

“Maintain ground cover to reduce the splashing of mud and water onto leafy crops. Mulches (organic or artificial) will also reduce the compaction and erosion of your soils,” it added. Meteorological officials said Barbados was truly in the wet season and noted that for June, July, and August cumulative rainfall at the Grantley Adams Airport was likely to be between 346 and 427 millimetres, with last month’s average alone being 103.0 millimetres.

This would be on the heels of above average rainfall measures during the first five months of this year. “The cumulative rainfall total January to May was 342.9 millimetres which was above the long-term cumulative total for the same period of 288.9 millimetres. Meanwhile, Golden Ridge in St. George recorded a total of 163.9 millimetres for May over 19 rain days,” Met office information stated.

As for May specifically, the weather officials said the first three days of that month had 15.8 millimetres of rain at the Grantley Adams Airport as a trough feature lingered over the northern Lesser Antilles.

This was followed by a six day dry spell as a deep-layered high pressure ridge dominated over the central and southern portion of the island chain, and between days 10 and 13, the trough moved southwards across the island chain, contributing another 24.9 millimetres of rainfall in May.

It was pointed out that May’s eights days of rain equaled the long-term average while the May rainfall total reached 69.6 millimetres, “or just 9.4 millimetres shy of the long-term average for May”. Expert expectations for the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which officially started on June 1 and ends on November 30, were that there were likely to be 18 named storms, nine of which were predicted to become hurricanes.

Four would possibly reach Category 3 or higher status, with winds greater than 110 miles per hour. (SC)

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