Mostly Sunny Skies Over Next 5 Days. Saharan Dust, Rough Seas Possible by Next Week

Today through tomorrow, generally sunny and clear skies are expected as a Central Atlantic high-pressure remains the dominant feature across the region. Some isolated showers are possible through Thursday as wind speeds remain low and low level moisture is adequate to support brief, isolated showers triggered by daytime heating. These chances are fairly low, as moisture is capped at the low levels of the atmosphere with generally hostile upper level conditions.

By Friday and Saturday, some low-level cloud patches will begin to traverse the region, bringing some periodic cloudy periods and some brief, isolated shower activity. Again, since moisture is capped at the low levels of the atmosphere and upper level conditions remain relatively hostile, chances for rainfall remain low.

By Sunday, a robust high-pressure system in the Western Atlantic is expected to become the dominant feature across the region, increasing wind speeds between 15-20 knots (28-37 KM/H), keeping conditions across Trinidad and Tobago fairly dry and breezy.

Temperatures are expected to remain mild throughout the next 5 days, with lows in Trinidad between 20-23°C and highs 31-32°C. In Tobago, similar temperatures are expected with lows of 22-23°C and highs of 29-30.5°C. These milder low temperatures, particularly across Trinidad, are due to increased low level moisture, reducing the efficiency of longwave radiation cooling the surface at night.

No significant rainfall is expected over the next 5 days as meteorological drought conditions intensify. Generally, less than 5 millimeters of rainfall is possible, favoring Eastern & Southwestern Trinidad through the next 5 days, with trace amounts elsewhere.

Seas through the next 5 days are expected to be slight to moderate in open waters, with waves between 1.5 to 2 meters. In sheltered areas, near calm conditions are expected. Winds are expected to remain from the east, between 10-15 knots through Friday, increasing to 15-20 knots through the remainder of the period.

Long Range

GEOS 00Z 02/06/2019 Dust Aerosol Optical Thickness Model showing increased dust across the Eastern Caribbean by mid-next week.

Saharan Dust: A significant concentration of Saharan dust has moved off the coast of Western Africa and some dust models are showing a notable increase in dust concentrations approaching Trinidad, Tobago and the Eastern Caribbean by next Tuesday (6 days away!). However, some dust models hint at concentrations significantly decreasing as the dust mass move westward across the Atlantic, with other models keeping this dust mass across the Eastern Atlantic. Lots can change between now and then, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on this. Saharan dust, combined with already reduced air quality due to the prevalence of bush fires can reduce air quality to unhealthy levels.

EMCWF WAM 12KM Model for Waves & Swells for Wednesday 13th February 2019, showing a large area of rough seas with waves in excess of 3.0 meters affecting the Eastern Caribbean.

Rough Seas: A strong low-pressure system, moving off the US Eastern Atlantic Coasts on Friday may generate a short-lived long-period swell event and rough seas across much of the Eastern Caribbean by next Tuesday. Specifically for Trinidad and Tobago, long period (> 11 seconds) swells are possible on Monday & Tuesday, with rough seas (waves up to and greater an 3.0 meters) possible on Wednesday (7 days away!). This is still a week away, and a lot can change between now and then. We’ll be monitoring accordingly.

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