Concentrations of Saharan Dust Forecast to Increase. Hazy Skies, Degraded Air Quality to Continue.

Saharan Dust concentrations forecast remain across Trinidad and Tobago through the weekend with increasing concentrations. Peak concentrations likely Sunday into Monday. Air quality to remain reduced, at times unhealthy for sensitive groups. Persons with respiratory ailments and sensitive groups need to take the necessary precautions.

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Presently, increased concentrations of Saharan Dust is present across Trinidad and Tobago, enough to reduce air quality to moderate levels. Since midnight Thursday, air quality monitors across Trinidad have been detecting elevated levels of Saharan Dust across the island, reducing air quality to moderate levels. Similar conditions are occurring across Grenada, Barbados, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and St. Lucia.

Air Quality Index Across Trinidad and Tobago as of 8:00 AM Friday 10th May 2019.

Over the next 7 days, these dust levels are forecast to persist, with fluctuations in concentrations. Air quality across the remainder of the Eastern Caribbean are at good levels for now. However, this dust is forecast to move across the Eastern Caribbean on Sunday 12th May into Monday 13th May 2019, reducing air quality across the region.

Air Quality across the Eastern Caribbean Friday 10th May 2019.
Air Quality across the Eastern Caribbean Friday 10th May 2019.

At moderate air quality levels, unusually sensitive groups should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion.

At unhealthy for sensitive groups: There is an increasing likelihood of respiratory symptoms in sensitive individuals. Aggravation of heart or lung disease and possible premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly. People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should limit prolonged exertion.

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Larger, more concentrated plumes of Saharan dust begin to occur in April and continue through November. This is due to stronger thunderstorms, typically associated with tropical waves, across interior Africa sending dust into the upper atmosphere.

5-Day Air Quality Index For Trinidad and Tobago
5-Day Air Quality Index For Trinidad and Tobago
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12Z May 8th, 2019 NASA GEOS-5 Dust Model showing increased concentrations of Saharan Dust aimed at the Lesser Antilles beginning May 11th through next week. Credit: Weatherbell
12Z May 8th, 2019 NASA GEOS-5 Dust Model showing increased concentrations of Saharan Dust aimed at the Lesser Antilles beginning May 11th through next week. Credit: Weatherbell

Long range modeling indicates that fluctuating concentrations of Saharan Dust is forecast to persist across Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the remainder of the Southern Windwards through the first half of May.

Related: Saharan Dust

With dry conditions persisting, bush fires will be on the rise. In the presence of even mild Saharan Dust, air quality can quickly degrade to moderate and even unhealthy for sensitive groups. Sensitive groups such as persons with respiratory ailments, children, the elderly and cardiopulmonary disease should take the necessary precautions.

Saharan Dust Precautions
Saharan Dust Precautions

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