Mild Concentrations of Saharan Dust Forecast This Weekend

Saharan Dust concentrations remain minimal to mild across Trinidad and Tobago on Friday. A plume of Saharan Dust is forecast to arrive across Trinidad, Tobago and the Southern Windwards later tonight (May 3rd) into Saturday (May 4th). Mild to moderate concentrations are forecast to linger for at least the next two weeks. A moderate to heavy plume is forecast to arrive across T&T by the second week of May.

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Presently, minimal to mild concentrations of Saharan Dust is present across Trinidad and Tobago. over the next 7 days, these dust levels are forecast to persist, with fluctuations in concentrations. Air quality across Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, St Lucia and Martinique are at good levels, occasionally reducing to moderate levels.

On Friday evening, into Saturday, a mild to moderate plume of Saharan Dust is forecast to arrive across Trinidad, Tobago and the remainder of the Southern Windwards. It is important to note that as of present (7:00 PM Tuesday 30th April 2019), this initial plume of dust is not forecast to be as severe as the unhealthy air quality experienced during the March 2019 dust event. Air quality is forecast to be reduced to moderate levels, and at times, unhealthy for sensitive groups.

EPA Air Quality Index (AQI) Risk Levels
EPA Air Quality Index (AQI) Risk Levels

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

At unhealthy for sensitive groups: There is the 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.

According to the Barbados Meteorological Service, the first tropical wave of the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season is moving across South America and remained well south of Trinidad and Tobago with no impacts to the islands. According to the United States NWS Weather Prediction Center International Desk, their first analyzed tropical wave was analyzed in the Central Atlantic, also forecast to remain well south of Trinidad and Tobago with no impacts to the islands. It is this tropical wave which the increased concentrations of Saharan Dust are following. Note that the National Hurricane Center has not analyzed any tropical waves in their latest surface analysis as of 06Z Friday 3rd May 2019.
According to the Barbados Meteorological Service, the first tropical wave of the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season is moving across South America and remained well south of Trinidad and Tobago with no impacts to the islands. According to the United States NWS Weather Prediction Center International Desk, their first analyzed tropical wave was analyzed in the Central Atlantic, also forecast to remain well south of Trinidad and Tobago with no impacts to the islands. It is this tropical wave which the increased concentrations of Saharan Dust are following. Note that the National Hurricane Center has not analyzed any tropical waves in their latest surface analysis as of 06Z Friday 3rd May 2019.
5 Day Air Quality Index Across Trinidad and Tobago
5 Day Air Quality Index Across Trinidad and Tobago
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00Z May 2nd 2019 NASA GEOS-5 Dust Model showing a "firehose" of Saharan Dust aimed at the Lesser Antilles, beginning this weekend. Increased concentrations and degraded air quality forecast. Credit: Weatherbell
00Z May 2nd 2019 NASA GEOS-5 Dust Model showing a “firehose” of Saharan Dust aimed at the Lesser Antilles, beginning this weekend. Increased concentrations and degraded air quality forecast. Credit: Weatherbell

Long range modelling indicate 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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