August 2020: Near Record Hottest & Wettest For T&T

August 2020 was the sixth warmest on record (tied) across T&T in the 76 years since records began in 1946. Across Trinidad, August 2020 also became the 3rd wettest August on record (since 1946). In Tobago, it was the 4th wettest on record (since 1980).

Temperatures

Average August 2020 temperatures compared to T&T's long term (30-year) averages. Data: Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service.
Average August 2020 temperatures compared to T&T’s long term (30-year) averages. Data: Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service.

According to the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service (TTMS), August 2020 was warmer than average in Trinidad and Tobago. In terms of mean temperature, August was much warmer than average for Trinidad. Trinidad tied sixth-warmest on record in the 76 years since records began in 1946.

This mean temperature is the average temperature of the entire day. August 2020 mean temperature of 28.5 °C was 0.6 °C warmer than the 1981-2010 average and 1.4 °C warmer than the 1961-1990 average.

When looking at the average (mean) maximum temperatures, August 2020 in Trinidad tied as the eighth-warmest on record. It was the warmest in the last three years at 0.6°C warmer than the 1981-2020 average and 1.6 °C warmer than the 1961-1990 average.

In Tobago, conditions were similar with an August mean temperature of 28.5 °C. The mean maximum temperature of 31.9 °C, and the highest maximum temperature of 33.4, all warmer than average for Tobago.

Extreme Temperatures

Between August 24th and August 28th, the TTMS recorded one hot spell (or heatwave) across Trinidad. A hot spell occurs when there are 5 consecutive hot days. A hot day is defined as a day where maximum highs were 34.0 °C or greater. However, the highest maximum temperature of 34.6 °C occurred on the 15th.

Maximum high temperatures recorded at Piarco, Trinidad by the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service over the last 10 days showing the hot spell threshold being met on the island since August 25th, 2020. This data originated from the TTMS' reported maximum temperature in their (4PM) evening forecasts.
Maximum high temperatures recorded at Piarco, Trinidad by the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service over the last 10 days showing the hot spell threshold being met on the island since August 25th, 2020. This data originated from the TTMS’ reported maximum temperature in their (4PM) evening forecasts.

In Tobago, there were two relatively hot days on the 10th and 27th with maximum temperatures of 33.0°C and 33.4 °C respectively.

Rainfall

The top three wettest August's in the 76-year history of records at Piarco, Trinidad. Data: Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service.
The top three wettest August’s in the 76-year history of records at Piarco, Trinidad. Data: Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service.

Across Trinidad and Tobago, rainfall was above average in most areas according to the TTMS. August 2020 came in at the 3rd wettest August in 76 years at Piarco, Trinidad. At Crown Point, Tobago, it was the 4th wettest August on record in 50 years.

At Piarco, Trinidad, 443.9 mm of rainfall was recorded, making August 2020 the wettest August in the last twenty-seven years and the 3rd wettest August in 76 years. Only August of 1949 with 464.7 mm and August of 1993 with 448.8mm were wetter.

The top four wettest August's in the 50-year history of records at Crown Point, Tobago. Data: Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service.
The top four wettest August’s in the 50-year history of records at Crown Point, Tobago. Data: Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service.

At Crown Point, Tobago, 236.3 mm of rainfall made August 2020 the 4th wettest August in the 50 years of records. Only August of 2007 with 317.1 mm, 2017 with 276.0 mm, and 1988 with 238.3 mm were wetter.

At Piarco, August rainfall was much above average at 68% above average (average is 264.6 mm) while at Crown Point it was 43% above average (average is 164.8 mm).

To date, the TTMS has had an average wet season based on rainfall totals between June through August. The TTMS has recorded accumulated totals of 745.2 mm at Piarco, which represents just 20.9 mm or 2.7% less than average, and at Crown Point 525.9 mm, which is just 6.3 mm or 1% more than average.

Extreme Rainfall

Heavy rainfall defined as rainfall greater than or equal to 50 mm in 24 hours was relatively common during August in Trinidad.

There were three heavy rainfall days in August 2020. The first and heaviest rainfall event was on August 7th. 89.3 mm of rainfall was recorded at Piarco. This was due to the ITCZ, Tropical Wave 31, and Tropical Wave 32 affecting T&T. Several rivers broke their banks, flooding parts of Northwestern, Northeastern, Central, and Southern Trinidad. The Caroni River Basin was placed under a Riverine Flood Alert (Yellow Level).

The second heavy rainfall day was on August 17th, where Trinidad recorded 85.9 mm. This event occurred due to activity associated with Tropical Wave 36, Tropical Wave 37 and the ITCZ. An Adverse Weather Alert (Yellow Level) was issued for T&T and extended through the 18th.

The third heavy rainfall day was on August 30th, producing 59.8 mm of rainfall. This rainfall event was due to Tropical Wave 41 and strong thunderstorms moving off the northern coast of Venezuela. While no Adverse Weather Alerts were issued, severe flash flooding occurred across the East-West Corridor, with parts of Arima and Arouca the worst affected.

In Tobago, the most significant rainfall days were on the 17th, 22nd, and 29th which produced 43.6 mm, 39.0mm, and 38.3mm respectively

Two 7-day wet-spells (days with rainfall above 1.0 mm) produced 173.2 mm and 166.6 mm during the 16th -22nd and 1st -7th respectively.

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