On Monday 29th April 2019, hot temperatures were prevalent across Trinidad and Tobago. Across most of Trinidad and Tobago, temperatures between ranged between 31.0°C and 33.0°C. In urban areas and areas where development is prevalent, temperatures soared above 34.0°C.
In Caroni, an Automated Weather Station (AWS) from the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service recorded a temperature of 34.66°C at 2:00PM. The highest temperature recorded across Trinidad was at Woodbrook, by another AWS of 38.0°C at 2:25PM.
Temperatures in cities, such as Port of Spain, tend to be much higher than surrounding locations due to a phenomenon called the Urban Heat Island Effect. There are several causes, but the main instigator for this phenomenon tends to be increased dark surfaces such as roads and pavement in cities, which absorb solar radiation more than surrounding areas.
The Heat Index
Several persons across the country took to social media to complain about the heat, or more so what outside felt like. This is called the heat index, and is a combination of air temperature and relative humidity determining what the air feels like to a person i.e. how hot it actually feels.
The heat index is important because of sweating. Your body sweats in order to cool the skin and maintain a constant, healthy body temperature. This cooling process means that the sweat has to evaporate off the skin to remove heat. However, if the sweat is unable to evaporate, the body isn’t able to regulate temperature.
With high volumes of moisture in the air, also known as high relative humidity, which T&T regularly experience due to its tropical climate, the rate of sweat evaporation decreased. This is because the atmosphere is unable, or has limited potential to hold additional moisture in the atmosphere.
This results in you feeling warmer in humid conditions and cooler in less humid conditions i.e. when relative humidity decreases. As temperature increases, the heat index increases. As relative humidity increases, so does the heat index.
Heat index is generally classified into four categories: caution, extreme caution, dangerous and extremely dangerous. Generally across Trinidad and Tobago, we experience heat indices of caution to extreme caution in times of hot days, with isolated areas experiencing dangerous heat indices such as urban areas.
Today’s High Heat Indices
On Monday 29th April 2019, high heat indices were prevalent across Trinidad and Tobago. Across most of Trinidad and Tobago, heat indices between ranged between 36.0°C and 39.0°C. In urban areas and areas where development is prevalent, the heat index soared to 43.0°C – dangerous levels. At this level, heat cramp and heat exhaustion is likely. Heat stroke becomes probably with strenuous outdoor activity.
High Temperatures To Continue
As stated in an interview with Trinidad and Tobago Newsday, climatologist Kaidar Kissoon with the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service stated that for the remainder of April and into May the sun will be at this country’s latitude of 10.5 degrees north.
“We are going into a hotter period with the atmosphere warmer, hotter temperatures and more intense sunlight with no cloud cover as compared to a December or January. It will be warm and the sun stinging on a clear day. You will it find extremely hot.”Kaidar Kissoon, Climatologist, Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service
Trinidad and Tobago Newsday
On Tuesday 30th April, maximum high temperatures are forecast to be near 33-34°C across Trinidad, and 31-32°C across Tobago. Heat indices are also forecast to be high, near 36-38°C across Trinidad, and 34-35°C across Tobago.
Thankfully, some increased breezy conditions and slightly drier conditions at low-levels of the atmosphere are forecast to move across Trinidad and Tobago Wednesday and Thursday, reducing slightly the maximum high temperatures and more noticeably the heat indices.