As of 4:00 PM Sunday 24th May 2019, Saharan Dust concentrations are mild across Trinidad and Tobago. A decrease in dust concentrations is forecast late Monday into Tuesday as a tropical wave is forecast to briefly reduce dust concentrations. Islands from Trinidad and Tobago to Martinique are presently experiencing moderate air quality. An additional surge in dust is forecast late Wednesday next week, with a more significant surge of dust forecast in early June, by June 5th, 2019.
Presently, mild concentrations of Saharan Dust are present across Trinidad and Tobago, with air quality generally at good to moderate levels. As of 4:00 PM Sunday 26th May 2019, most islands across the Eastern Caribbean are at good air quality levels. However, islands across the Southern Windwards, are experiencing a mild surge of dust. Air quality across Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Martinique, and Barbados are at moderate levels presently. As of the latest Saharan Dust forecast models, air quality is forecast to remain near those levels through Monday.
At moderate air quality levels, unusually sensitive groups should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion.
Now that tropical waves are beginning to move across the Atlantic, Saharan Dust follows a more predictable pattern. Hot, mostly sunny and slightly hazy conditions with mild concentrations of Saharan Dust are typical ahead of a tropical wave, as it will be Sunday into Monday. Dust concentrations will decrease as the wave axis nears and passes over T&T, with showers and possible thunderstorms following the wave axis, as will be the case Tuesday into Wednesday. Then, a surge of dust is forecast to follow the showers and possible thunderstorms as the tropical wave progresses westward, as will be the cast late Wednesday into Thursday.
The concentration of the dust that follows the wave depends on the strength of the wave as it moves off the West African Coast. This is because of stronger thunderstorms across Central Africa. As strong winds move downward and outward from these thunderstorms, the wind kicks up dust as it moves across parts of the Saharan Desert and transport it into the upper atmosphere. This “plume” of dust follows the axis of the wave as it progresses westward into the Atlantic.
Larger, more concentrated plumes of Saharan dust begin to occur in April and continue through November.
Dust models continue to show, following the passage of tropical waves, mild to moderate concentrations of Saharan Dust moving across Trinidad and Tobago. Over the longer term, at the beginning of June, following the passage of the second tropical wave of the 2019 Hurricane Season, a moderate plume of dust is forecast to move across T&T, and the Eastern Caribbean. This dust event is more than a week away. Updates will be posted accordingly.
Sensitive groups such as persons with respiratory ailments, children, the elderly and cardiopulmonary disease should take the necessary precautions on days where dust concentrations degrade air quality to moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups.