The Meteorological Service of Jamaica (Met Office) is urging Jamaicans to prepare for higher-than-normal temperatures over the summer period, which begins on June 20 and ends September 22.
Director of the Met Office, Evan Thompson, said that already, daytime temperatures have been above normal, with Montego Bay recording up to 34 degrees Celsius and Kingston 33.5 degrees in the month of May.
“We are projecting, currently, that over the next few months, temperatures will continue to be above the norm. It has been this way over the past number of months, and going into the summer, we are expecting that it will be higher than normal and normal is already very hot,” he noted.
Mr. Thompson, who was speaking at a recent virtual town hall hosted by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, said that the Met Office is projecting temperatures above 34 degrees Celsius, which, he noted, can cause dehydration.
“Last year, we had our maximum ever recorded in Kingston, which was very close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit or about 38 degrees Celsius. Therefore, we need to be prepared for the increased temperature,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, Acting Director of Emergency Medical Services in the Ministry of Health And Wellness, Dr. Kurdell Espinosa Campbell, is encouraging residents to take the necessary steps to stay hydrated through regular intake of water.
She said exposure to extreme temperatures can be dangerous for high-risk groups, especially the elderly, children and those with health issues.
“Heat injuries run the spectrum from high to mild heat illnesses, which means that if you are in the sun for a prolonged period of time, you are likely to be dehydrated. We recommend that persons stay out of the sunlight at those key hours between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. and drink lots of water if you have to be in the outdoors,” Dr. Espinosa Campbell advised.
“There are other recommendations that we can look at, such as wearing sunscreen, wearing your hat outdoors, and reducing your outdoor exposure,” she added.