Tropical Update – Tropical Wave 05 To Bring Unsettled Weather To T&T

Tropical Update Overview:
Tropical Storm Cristobal – This tropical storm made landfall across the Mexican state of Campeche on Wednesday morning. The tropical cyclone is forecast to weaken as it moves over land, but reemerge in the Gulf of Mexico later this weekend, heading towards the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Tropical Wave 05 – This tropical wave is slowly approaching the Lesser Antilles, with a large moisture field, forecast to begin affecting Trinidad and Tobago by Thursday through Saturday with periods of showers, rain, and isolated thunderstorms. See below for details.
Tropical Wave 06 – This tropical wave is located in the Eastern Atlantic, moving westward. This wave is forecast to affect the Lesser Antilles early to mid-next week. It is too soon to tell any definitive impacts.

Total Precipitable Water Imagery showing the Tropical Waves (analyzed by the National Hurricane Center, Weather Prediction Center and TTWC) that exist in the Atlantic Basin, as well as Tropical Storm Cristobal.
Total Precipitable Water Imagery showing the Tropical Waves (analyzed by the National Hurricane Center, Weather Prediction Center and TTWC) that exist in the Atlantic Basin, as well as Tropical Storm Cristobal.

Impacts to T&TNo direct tropical threats to Trinidad and Tobago are forecast over the next week but locally heavy rainfall is possible particularly between Thursday afternoon and Saturday afternoon, with the highest chances for rainfall on Friday due to Tropical Wave 05. Street flooding, gusty winds generally between 25-45 KM/H, occasionally up to 55 KM/H, and frequent lightning are possible. Flash flooding and landslides are less likely but possible.

Before we dive into the Tropical Update, a few notes:

  • Tropical waves are a normal part of the rainy season.
  • Not every tropical wave will form into a tropical cyclone.
  • Weaker tropical waves produce more rainfall across Eastern parts of the islands with mostly cloudy conditions and a few showers across western parts of the islands.
  • Rainfall will be more isolated and intermittent with weaker tropical waves that do not have ITCZ or upper-level support.
  • Saharan Dust may weaken tropical waves.

You can read more about the weather associated with Tropical Waves, as well as what to expect as these waves move through the region below.

Tropical Storm Cristobal

Tropical Storm Cristobal affecting parts of Central America Credit: Weathernerds

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) continues to monitor Tropical Storm Cristobal, which made landfall this morning across the Mexican state of Campeche.

At 9:35 AM AST, Wednesday 3rd June 2020, Tropical Storm Cristobal made landfall in the state of Campeche, Mexico near Atasta, Mexico. The estimated maximum sustained winds of 60 MPH (95 KM/H), with higher gusts. The most recent Atlantic named storm to make landfall in June in Mexico is Tropical Storm Danielle (2016).

At 5:00 PM AST, the center of Tropical Storm Cristobal was located near latitude 18.3 North, longitude 91.8 West.

Cristobal is moving toward the southeast near 3 mph (6 km/h), and a turn toward the east is expected by tonight. A turn toward the north-northeast and north is expected on Thursday and Friday. On the forecast track, the center will move over the landmass of eastern Mexico through Thursday. The center is forecast to move back over the southern Gulf of Mexico by Friday, and over the central Gulf of Mexico on Saturday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 50 MPH (85 KM/H) with higher gusts. Slow weakening will occur while the cyclone moves over land, and Cristobal will likely become a tropical depression by Thursday evening. Some re-strengthening is expected to begin on Friday.

No threat to the Lesser Antilles, including T&T.

Tropical Wave 05

Tropical Wave 05 is analyzed along 50/51W, west of where the National Hurricane Center has analyzed it (along 54W) based on total precipitable water imagery and satellite imagery.. Credit: Weathernerds
Tropical Wave 05 is analyzed along 50/51W, west of where the National Hurricane Center has analyzed it (along 54W) based on total precipitable water imagery and satellite imagery.. Credit: Weathernerds

As of the 7:00 PM Tropical Update, the fifth tropical wave for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season is located along 50/51W, from 14N southward based on our analysis based on total precipitable imagery and satellite imagery. The NHC has the axis further west, along the leading edge of the surge of moisture associated with the wave.

Based on our analysis, the axis of the wave is approximately less than 1,200 kilometers east of Trinidad and Tobago, but much of the active weather follows the wave axis.

Isolated showers are ongoing on both sides of the wave axis, with stronger convection following the wave axis. The wave is also aiding in the development of thunderstorms across northern South America. The wave is moving west at 10 to 15 knots (18.5-28 KM/H) and is forecast to traverse the Lesser Antilles on Friday.

Guidance from the top global models is in agreement with periods of showers and isolated thunderstorms beginning on Thursday night through the afternoon on Saturday, with locally heavy rainfall possible on Friday.

See below for details.

Tropical Wave 06

Activity associated with Tropical Wave 06 in the East Atlantic, along 34/35W with limited activity associated with the wave axis. Credit: Weathernerds
Activity associated with Tropical Wave 06 in the East Atlantic, along 34/35W with limited activity associated with the wave axis. Credit: Weathernerds

As of the 7:00 PM Tropical Update, the axis of Tropical Wave 06 is approximately along is along 34/35W, from 11N southward, moving westward 10-15 knots (18.5-28 KM/H).

Convection is limited near the wave axis, but abundant moisture is present ahead of and behind the wave. This wave is forecast to traverse the region early to mid-next week, but it is too soon to tell definitive impacts.

What does all of this mean for Trinidad and Tobago?

T&T's 5-Day Weather Forecast as Tropical Wave 05 traverses the region.
T&T’s 5-Day Weather Forecast as Tropical Wave 05 traverses the region.

Thursday: An initially sunny and hazy day is forecast to become increasingly humid with isolated showers possible by the late morning, increasing through the latter half of Thursday as moisture ahead of Tropical Wave 05 moves across T&T. Heavier showers are forecast to remain offshore and favor coastal areas. By nightfall, closer to midnight, heavy to violent showers and isolated thunderstorms are possible, favoring the eastern half of Trinidad. Note that overall heavier rainfall is forecast to remain offshore and across the eastern halves of both islands.

Gusty winds up to 55 KM/H, street flooding is possible in heavy to violent showers and isolated thunderstorms. Seas to remain slight to moderate, with waves up to 1.5 meters in open waters, but may become choppy during heavy showers and thunderstorms.


Friday: The axis of Tropical Wave 05 will be moving across T&T, but active weather follows the axis. After midnight and throughout the day, periods of light to moderate rain, isolated to scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms are forecast, generally interrupting mostly cloudy to cloudy skies. Mostly cloudy (meaning brief peeks of sunshine may be seen through the clouds) to cloudy skies will continue throughout the day, with isolated thunderstorms and isolated to scattered showers. Thunderstorms to favor the predawn hours as well as the late morning through the afternoon hours.

Note that similarly to Thursday, overall heavier rainfall is forecast to remain offshore (east of Trinidad, south of Tobago) and across the eastern halves of both islands. Conditions to mostly settle by nightfall, with isolated showers and light rain persisting in localized areas across Trinidad.

Particularly during heavy to violent showers and thunderstorms on Friday, gusty winds up to 55 KM/H are possible. Seas to remain moderate, with waves up to 2 meters in open waters, but may become choppy during heavy showers and thunderstorms. Street flooding and frequent lightning are likely in heavy downpours and thunderstorms respectively. Flash flooding and landslides are less likely, but also possible.


Saturday: Isolated early to mid-morning showers are forecast, becoming heavier closer to daybreak but still favoring eastern coastal areas of Trinidad, gradually moving westward. Conditions to become partly cloudy by the mid to late morning, with isolated to scattered showers possible, favoring Trinidad. There is the low to medium chance of isolated thunderstorms favoring Trinidad between 10 AM and 3 PM. Conditions to settle by the evening, barring the odd isolated shower favoring eastern areas.

As abundant low-level moisture is forecast to continue moving across Trinidad and Tobago Saturday into Sunday, with southeasterly winds, sea-breeze convergence, daytime heating, and orographic effects is forecast to trigger showers and isolated thunderstorms during the late morning through the afternoon.

Gusty winds up to 55 KM/H, street flooding is possible in heavy to violent showers and isolated thunderstorms. Seas to remain slight to moderate, with waves up to 1.5 meters in open waters, but may become choppy during heavy showers and thunderstorms.


Sunday: After an initially sunny morning, isolated to scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms are possible by the late morning through the afternoon (10 AM through 3 PM). Heavier activity to favor western and hilly areas. Conditions to settle by the evening, barring the odd isolated shower favoring eastern areas.

Gusty winds up to 55 KM/H, street flooding is possible in heavy to violent showers and isolated thunderstorms. Seas to remain slight to moderate, with waves up to 1.5 meters in open waters, but may become choppy during heavy showers and thunderstorms.

Monday: After midnight, isolated to scattered showers are possible, mainly across Trinidad. Showers to favor the southern half of Trinidad through midday, with partly to mostly cloudy and hazy skies elsewhere throughout the day.

Impacts Following Tropical Wave 05

Impacts associated with Tropical Wave 05 across Trinidad and Tobago. Note that heavy rainfall to favor offshore areas as well as Eastern Coastal Trinidad and Tobago.
Impacts associated with Tropical Wave 05 across Trinidad and Tobago. Note that heavy rainfall to favor offshore areas as well as Eastern Coastal Trinidad and Tobago.

Winds: Sustained surface winds between 25 KM/H and 45 KM/H with gusts up to 55 KM/H are likely in heavy showers or thunderstorms across Trinidad and Tobago, particularly between Thursday night through Saturday afternoon.

With wind gusts up to 55 KM/H, whole trees are expected to be in motion, and there may be some inconvenience when walking against the wind gusts. Light outdoor objects may topple or become airborne such as garbage cans, potted plants, loose galvanize or construction material, and other outdoor furniture. Tents may jump. Older/weaker trees may fall, bringing down utility poles and lines.

High Wind Event Precautions
High Wind Event Precautions

Rainfall: This is not forecast to be a widespread, heavy rainfall event. Much of the heavy rainfall is forecast to remain offshore – south of Tobago & east of Trinidad. Generally, most areas through Sunday that receive rainfall are forecast to see daily totals less than 10 millimeters, with in excess of 15-25 millimeters in isolated thunderstorms or heavy/violent downpours.

Generally, with heavy showers and thunderstorm activity, street flooding, particularly in flood-prone areas or areas with poor drainage, is possible as well as flash flooding in areas where more prolonged heavy rainfall may occur.

Frequent Lightning: In addition, with forecast thunderstorms, frequent lightning is likely. Lightning can cause power outages, voltage dips, damage to life and property, particularly during cloud-to-ground lightning strikes. Thunderstorms are forecast to generally remain offshore, more so in the Gulf of Paria.

Why I May Not/Will Not See Constant Rainfall?

A frequent complaint is the forecast is wrong because I didn’t experience any rainfall. Scattered showers mean that you, individually, may experience some showers intermittently throughout the day and there is a higher chance for this activity than isolated activity. Widespread showers mean that nearly all persons and areas may experience rainfall.

This week, isolated to scattered activity is forecast.

Forecast - Isolated, Scattered, Widespread - What do they mean?

Tropical Cyclone Climatology

Tropical Cyclone Points of Origin during the month of June. Though much of the points of origin are west or north of T&T as we move through the first month of the Hurricane Season, we still need to pay attention to some of these waves and the ITCZ, which have historically brought major flooding events to T&T, hence all low-pressure systems in the Atlantic should be closely monitored, as we do in the Tropical Update.

List of names for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which will be updated each tropical update as new systems develop.
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