September 2020: Warmest Month Of The Year To Date in Trinidad, 2nd In Tobago

September 2020 was the seventh warmest on record (tied) at Piarco, Trinidad, since records began in 1946. It was also the second warmest at Crown Point, Tobago, since records began in 1967. Across Trinidad, September 2020 also became the 4th wettest September on record since 1946. In Tobago, starkly different, coming in at the 18th driest September on Record.

Temperatures

According to the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service (TTMS), September is usually the warmest month of the west season and has been the warmest month in the last 30 years (1990-2019). 2020 showed to be no different with record warm average daily and monthly temperatures.

September 2020 was warmer than average in Trinidad and Tobago. In terms of mean temperature, September was much warmer than average for Trinidad. Trinidad tied seventh-warmest on record since records began in 1946 in terms of average temperature. 2020 tied with 1990, 1995, 2002, 2003, and 2014 according to the TTMS.

This mean temperature is the average temperature of the entire day. September 2020 mean temperature of 28.6°C was 0.5°C warmer than the 1981-2010 average and 1.4°C warmer than the 1961-1990 average. The warmest September on record occurred in 2015 and 2008 (tied) with an average temperature of 29.2°C.

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

When looking at the average (mean) maximum temperatures, September 2020 in Trinidad also ranked at the seventh-warmest on record at 33.3°C. It was 0.7°C warmer than the 1981-1990 average and 1.8°C warmer than the 1961-1990 average. September 2012 and 1999 recorded the highest average maximum of 34.0°C.

In Tobago, record warmth also occurred with September 2020 coming in with an average temperature of 29.0°C, which is 1.3°C higher than the 1981-2010 average. This makes September 2020 the second warmest in 54 years, since records began in 1967 in terms of average temperature in Tobago.

Crown Point, Tobago also had an average maximum temperature of 32.3°C, which is 1.0°C above the long term average. September 2020 has now tied September 2019 for the warmest September on record in terms of average maximum temperature.

To date, 2020, with an average of 27.8°C, is also the 6th warmest January to September ever recorded at Piarco, tied with the January through September of 1999 and 1995. January through September of 2010 remains the warmest 9-month start of the year, with an average temperature of 28.7°C.

Extreme Temperatures

At Piarco, there were ten hot days recorded, according to the TTMS. A hot day is defined as a day where maximum highs were greater than 33.9°C. In the TTMS’ September 2020 Preliminary Climate Overview, the warmest temperature recorded for the month occurred on September 14th and again on September 22nd at 34.8°C. At this temperature, September 2020 would rank 12th among September’s most extreme daily maximum temperatures in the 62-year record.

However, on September 26th, the TTMS reported a maximum high temperature at Piarco at 34.9°C. At the time, it was the highest recorded temperature (year-to-date), until October 18th.

The warmest September maximum temperature occurred on September 25th, 1990 at 36.5°C at Piarco. September 16th, 1999 and September 27th, 2012 with maximum temperatures of 36.3°C and 36.2°C were the 2nd and 3rd warmest maximum temperatures on record.

Maximum high temperatures recorded at Piarco, Trinidad by the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service over a ten-day period showing the hot spell threshold being met on the island from September 21st through September 26th. This data originated from the TTMS’ reported maximum temperature in their (4 PM) evening forecasts.

The TTMS also noted that there was a short duration hot spell from September 14th, 15th, and 16th. Another hot spell was also recorded from September 21st through September 26th with maximum highs crossing 34.0°C at Piarco.

The data: September 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, & 29th.

Maximum high temperatures recorded at Crown Point, Tobago by the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service over a ten-day period from September 17th through September 26th showing the hot spell threshold being met on the island. This data originated from the TTMS' reported maximum temperature in their (4PM) evening forecasts.
Maximum high temperatures recorded at Crown Point, Tobago by the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service over a ten-day period from September 17th through September 26th showing the hot spell threshold being met on the island. This data originated from the TTMS’ reported maximum temperature in their (4 PM) evening forecasts.

According to the Preliminary Climate Overview, the highest temperature recorded at Crown Point, Tobago occurred on September 17th with 34.0°C and the second warmest temperature ever recorded at the location. Only September 16th, 1989, and August 28th, 1989 have been warmer at 34.2°C. However, according to the TTMS report on September 17th, the maximum high at Crown Point was 32.8°C, with the maximum high for the month coming in at 33.7°C on September 26th.

Rainfall

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

Across Trinidad, rainfall was above- to much above-average in most areas according to the TTMS. September 2020 came in at the 4th wettest September in 76 years at Piarco, Trinidad.

At Piarco, Trinidad, 279.7 mm of rainfall was recorded, which was 91.2 mm or 48% above the 1981-2010 average of 188.5 mm. September 2020 was the wettest September in the last decade, the 2nd wettest September in the last 50 years, and the 4th wettest September in the 75-year record. Only the Septembers of 1970, 2010, and 1966 were wetter.

To date, the TTMS has had an above-average wet season based on rainfall totals between July through September. The TTMS has recorded accumulated totals of 805.5 mm at Piarco, which represents just 103.2 mm or 14.7% above average (702.3 mm).

At Crown Point, Tobago, a much drier September was observed. A rainfall total of 110.1 mm was recorded during September 2020, 45.7 mm, or 29.3% below average. September 2020 at the site ranks the 18th driest September of the 54-year rainfall record. It was also the ninth September in the last decade (2011-2020) in which less than average rainfall (155.8 mm) was recorded at Crown Point.

476.3 mm of rainfall was recorded over the three months of July through September which represents 29.9 mm or 29.9% below average rainfall for the period in Crown Point.

Extreme Rainfall

Heavy rainfall defined as rainfall greater than or equal to 50 mm in 24 hours. There were two heavy rainfall days in September 2020 at Piarco and none in Tobago.

The first and heaviest rainfall event was on September 1st, with 63.7 mm recorded at Piarco. Severe flooding hit North-Central Trinidad overnight and then again during the afternoon as light winds and abundant moisture was present. The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service issued an Adverse Weather Alert for parts of Central and Northern Trinidad.

The second heavy rainfall event occurred on September 19th, with 56.1 mm recorded at Piarco. This rainfall was due to the influence of Hurricane Teddy on the Lesser Antilles. Significant flooding hit parts of Southern and North-Central Trinidad, namely Penal, Bon Air West and Arouca.

Heavy rainfall also occurred in Trinidad on the 3rd (33.9 mm), the 8th (36.8 mm) with hail and a funnel cloud reported, and the 10th (25.9 mm) where flash floods hit Claxton Bay, Cocorite and Maraval, with a funnel cloud spotted in Gasparillo.

In Tobago, the most significant rainfall days were on the 14th with 35.3 mm of rainfall, with the next rainy day on the 16th with 23.8 mm recorded.

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