Rainy Weekend for Haiti, Central and Eastern Caribbean

May 28, 2010; 9:10 AM ET
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Unsettled conditions, including the risk of flooding downpours, will affect areas in the central and eastern Caribbean, including Haiti, this weekend.

As a result of the devastating earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti this past January, makeshift housing in the form of tents is all that stands between Mother Nature and hundreds of thousands of people. A number of victims still have no shelter at all.

Deforestation practices of the past and unstable hillsides following the quake have left some of the terrain very vulnerable to mudslides and flash flooding.

An average of 5 to 10 inches of rain are forecast to fall on the region into the weekend. However, local amounts will be higher in the mountains, where runoff will be excessive.

A dip in the jet stream, combined with weak waves of low pressure traveling along a very old frontal boundary, as well as heating of the day and tropical moisture, will allow clusters of heavy showers and thunderstorms to form over Haiti and other nearby island nations in the Caribbean.

Haiti is not the only location in line for locally heavy rainfall. Areas from Jamaica to the Lesser Antilles and the northern coastline of South America lie within the pattern of potential flooding downpours.

There is an elevated risk of flash flooding and mudslides on the central and eastern Caribbean islands this weekend and beyond.

Piarco, Trinidad has received nearly a foot of rain since May 14. Half a foot of rain fell on parts of the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago Thursday. The area had been in the throws of a nasty drought.

A Second Disaster Looms for Haiti

The broad area of disturbed weather, combined with warmer-than-average water temperatures in the Caribbean, and now the Gulf of Mexico, are raising concerns for a very active Atlantic hurricane season this year.

AccuWeather.com hurricane expert Joe Bastardi expects a top-10 hurricane season.

Typically, Haiti is impacted by several tropical depressions, storms and/or hurricanes during a season.

Even one such tropical system has potential for disaster and great loss of life in the months ahead, given the hundreds of thousands of people still living without adequate shelter and on precarious areas such as hillsides.

High winds during a tropical storm or hurricane would destroy the makeshift refugee camps and create a considerable amount of dangerous airborne debris.

Saturated, unstable hillsides would simply give way.

Flooding could claim the lives of hundreds, if not thousands.

By Alex Sosnowski, Expert Senior Meteorologist, AccuWeather.com

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