Tropical wave causes downpours with more unsettled weather ahead  

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Kenicia Francis

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Residents should prepare for wet weather this week as a tropical wave makes its way across the region.

Climatologist Orvin Paige provided an overview of the expected conditions, forecasting rainfall amounts potentially exceeding two inches.

“We are under the influence of a westward-moving tropical wave. That tropical wave is moving through the islands and already producing showers and thunderstorms across Antigua and Barbuda,” he said.

“Some of the showers are moderate to even heavier times. We will see cloudiness and showers continuing in association with this tropical wave. As it moves further towards the west, we will have lingering moisture and instability and we could see another round of showers and even thunderstorms.

“Beyond that, the rest of the week, particularly the next three to four days, will likely see unsettled conditions as moisture content remains relatively high and the instability also lingering across the islands.

“There is a moderate to high chance of showers developing over the next few days for Antigua and Barbuda. We have been getting some hot conditions. These shower episodes will cool things down just a little bit, but we will likely see one or two days in which temperatures climb into as high as 31 or even 32 degrees Celsius, just about 90 degrees Fahrenheit or so.”

Paige explained that a “tropical wave” is like a group of thunderstorms travelling from West Africa through the Caribbean in the Atlantic Ocean. They are monitored for any signs that they might turn into tropical cyclones.

 If the wave starts getting organised, it might become a tropical depression, and could potentially progress into a tropical storm. 

If conditions are right, it could become a hurricane.

He also explained that near the Bahamas, there’s a surface trough that seems to be getting organised. 

Up to last night, there was a 10 percent chance of it turning into a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours and a 30 percent chance within the next seven days. 

In the Gulf of Mexico, there’s a broad area of low pressure also showing some signs of organisation. 

The chances are higher here, with a 70 percent likelihood of development in the next 48 hours and the next seven days. This system could possibly be the first tropical cyclone of the 2024 hurricane season.

With regards to the wave currently passing over Antigua and Barbuda, Paige stated, “It’s not showing any signs of organisation at this time in terms of further development into any tropical cyclone. The good thing for us is that it is moving through and moving towards the west, and if any development happens it will be well out of our area and moving further away.”

He warned that both islands may experience another wave in about five days.

Paige urged people to take this hurricane season seriously and reiterated some safety tips.

“We want persons to recall that we are in the hurricane season and basic hurricane preparedness would include having a hurricane preparedness plan. Build a basic kit in terms of supplies that are necessary just in case a tropical cyclone comes through.

“You want to have things like pasta, rice, canned stuff, sardines, corned beef and tuna, because with the passage of a hurricane you could find a day or two, maybe a few days, in which the supermarkets are closed. Set some water aside and things that you could store and easily eat.

“Know your route if you’re going to have to go to a shelter, which documents are you going to take that are extremely important that you can’t afford to get damaged,” he added.

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