A mild plume of Saharan Dust is moving across the Southern Windwards presently. Air quality across Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, St Lucia and Martinique has been reduced to moderate levels.
Ambient air quality monitoring stations (not affiliated with the EMA) began detecting elevated levels of PM2.5 particulates (dust or particulate matter (PM) with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers), reducing air quality levels to moderate. Over the next several days, Saharan Dust is forecast to linger across Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the Southern Windwards. Areas in the vicinity of bush fires may experience further reduced air quality at unhealthy for sensitive groups.
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.
Larger, more concentrated plumes of Saharan dust begin to occur in April, and continue through November. This is due to stronger thunderstorms across interior Africa sending dust into the upper atmosphere.
Throughout the next 5 days, air quality is forecast to remain near moderate as Saharan dust lingers. Peak concentrations are likely tonight through Saturday. In areas experiencing smokey conditions due to bush fires and blowing dust in dry areas, air quality may be reduced to moderate levels.
Long range modelling indicate that a plume with higher concentrations of Saharan Dust arriving across Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the remainder of the Southern Windwards by May 4th 2019.
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.