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Heatwave advisory prompts coping measures from Met Office

The Meteorology Office at the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) has issued its inaugural heatwave advisory for 2024. Grenadians are cautioned to take necessary precautions to contend with this weather anomaly, bringing temperatures soaring beyond 31.7 °C.

“Today marks the 8th consecutive day with temperatures exceeding 31.7 °C at Point Salines. With scant rainfall and persistently high temperatures anticipated in the coming days, a heatwave advisory has been declared for Grenada,” the announcement stated. This advisory remains in effect for the next 48 hours.

Released on Saturday, April 6, 2024, the advisory from the Met Office clarified that a heatwave advisory entails two or more consecutive days of temperatures at or above 31.7 °C.

The advisory offers guidance on coping strategies, including avoiding enclosed spaces, staying well-hydrated by drinking ample water, dressing appropriately, and ensuring the well-being of the elderly and young children.

During the period between June and October 2023, the Met Office issued multiple heatwave advisories as temperatures surpassed the 31.7 °C threshold.

Gerard Tamar, Head of the Grenada Met Office, noted that while traditionally the heat season spanned from June to September, there has been a consistent shift over the years. “We have statistical data dating back to 1985 here at Point Salines, providing more than the 30-year climatic average. Climatologically, the standard is to look back 30 years. The data indicates a trend of increasing temperatures. Every temperature assessment demonstrates a rise in temperature, not just in Grenada or the Caribbean, but globally,” Tamar stated in an interview during the 2023 heatwave period.

A study in 2021, supported by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), revealed that aside from heat-related ailments such as dehydration, heat cramps, heat stroke, and heightened mortality from respiratory diseases, there is an elevated risk of fatalities due to heatwaves. Outdoor workers are particularly vulnerable. Led by Public Health Specialist Dr. Lindonna Telesford, the study devised a methodology for conducting heat health studies in the Caribbean. This effort was one of the initiatives leading to the formulation of the Health National Adaptation Plan for Grenada.

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