Mild Saharan Dust Present Across T&T

A mild plume of Saharan Dust has arrived across Trinidad and Tobago early this morning. At 2:00AM, 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.

0Z April 24th 2019 University of Athens SKIRON Dust model showing mild concentrations of Saharan Dust across Trinidad and Tobago, south of Barbados and east of Grenada as of 8:00AM Wednesday 24th April 2019.
0Z April 24th 2019 University of Athens SKIRON Dust model showing mild concentrations of Saharan Dust across Trinidad and Tobago, south of Barbados and east of Grenada as of 8:00AM Wednesday 24th April 2019.

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.

5 Day Air Quality Index Forecast
5 Day Air Quality Index Forecast

Throughout the next 5 days, except Thursday, air quality is forecast to remain near moderate as Saharan dust lingers. On Thursday, with increased showers and the chance of thunderstorms, air quality is likely to briefly return to good levels. In areas experiencing smokey conditions due to bush fires and blowing dust in dry areas, air quality may be reduced to moderate levels.

00Z April 23rd 2019 NASA GEOS-5 Dust Model showing a mild surge of Saharan Dust lingering through the end of April 2019 across Trinidad and Tobago. Credit: Weatherbell

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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