Meteorologists and Climate Change Scientists from across the world are meeting this week (Monday 29th May to Friday 2nd June), for the 2017 Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) Wet/Hurricane Season - Seasonal Forecast workshop at the Beachcombers Hotel conference room.
On Wednesday, 31st May, CariCOF held a ceremony to officially open the workshop. The opening ceremony brought together a wide range of stakeholders in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, including representation from the Ministries of Health and the Environment, Forestry, Tourism; stakeholders from statutory bodies, namely, the Central Water and Sewage Authority (CWSA), the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF), the SVG Coast guard, SVG Red Cross, the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) and United States Embassy representatives.
Principal, Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology, Dr. David Farrell, congratulated Prime Minister, Dr. The Hon. Ralph Gonsalves, for accepting the invitation to address the CariCOF gathering.
USAID Mission Director for the Eastern & Southern Caribbean, Mr. Christopher Cushing, said it was an honour for him to be at the ceremony and that the United States Government has enjoyed a long relationship with St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
In his feature address, Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. The Hon. Ralph Gonsalves, thanked the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology for choosing St. Vincent and the Grenadines to host the CariCOF Wet/Hurricane Season - Seasonal Forecast workshop.
The Minister of National Security disclosed that the forecast for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season will be above average. He cited the NOAA's forecast of 11-17 named storms with the likelihood of 5-9 becoming hurricanes and 2-4 hurricanes, 3 of which can become major hurricanes. To this end, Dr. Gonsalves urged Vincentians to create family emergency plans and to seek help should they require materials to strengthen their homes to face the upcoming hurricane season.
Science and Technology officer at the Caribbean Meteorological Organization, Mr. Glendell De Souza, expressed gratitude to the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for hosting the CariCOF workshop and urged all participants to plan for future climate change impacts.
The CariCOF workshop is spearheaded by the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology in conjunction with the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), among others. The bi-annual workshop commenced on Monday, 29th May and will conclude on Friday, 2nd June, 2017.
The Caribbean Regional Climate Outlook Forum is funded through the USAID and the Building Regional Climate Change Capacity in the Caribbean (BRCCC) Programme, with the generous support of the American people. Also, represented at the CariCOF workshop is the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) of the Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York.