Social Media Message About Equinox Phenomenon is a Hoax

A message circulating once again on social media, which attributes extremely high temperatures being experienced to an “Equinox phenomenon” are not accurate and are not, in fact, from the Meteorological Service in Jamaica.

The text suggests that temperatures may reach 40 degrees Celsius and could cause sun stroke and dehydration. It further goes on to recommend actions aimed at hydrating the body in a bid to prevent heat stroke.

Although the concept of the equinox is real, where the sun’s position in relation to the earth provides exactly 12 hours of sunlight twice per year in March and September, this phenomenon is not currently being experienced.

Admittedly, however, data show that maximum daytime temperatures in Jamaica have been seeing a steady increase over the past couple of months. The International Airport in Montego Bay has recorded its 4th highest May temperature this year at 34.8 degrees, while Kingston’s 33.4 ranks only 16th among its all-time May highs. For the first four days of June, the data suggest that these figures have not been surpassed.

Nevertheless, the Climate Predictability Tool (CPT) being employed In the Meteorological Service is forecasting that local temperatures from June to August 2017 are likely to be warmer than normal. The CPT predicts a 50% chance of temperatures being above-normal and a 30% probability of normal temperatures being experienced across the island as we enter the summer period.

Residents are, therefore, encouraged to take the relevant steps to maintain their body’s hydration with regular intake of water, particularly if involved in strenuous outdoor activities. Also pay attention to relevant tips from credible sources like the Ministry of Health and the Office of Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management.

Evan Thompson
Meteorological Service
(Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation)