All islands across the Lesser Antilles are experiencing good air quality levels as of 6:00 PM Sunday 23rd June 2019. A moderate surge of Saharan Dust is forecast across Trinidad, Tobago and the Southern Windwards by late Monday, with its peak occurring on Tuesday. This dust event is not forecast to be severe, with good to moderate air quality forecast throughout the week. A more significant surge in Saharan Dust forecast by next week, which will be more prolonged, into the first week of July.
Presently, minimal concentrations of Saharan Dust are present across Trinidad and Tobago, with air quality at good levels. Similar conditions are occurring across the Lesser Antilles as Tropical Wave 10 moves westward, but its surge of moisture follows. By late Monday into Tuesday, air quality across Trinidad and Tobago is forecast to be reduced to moderate levels.
At moderate air quality levels, unusually sensitive groups should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion.
The concentration of the dust that follows the wave depends on the strength of the wave as it moves off the West African Coast. This is because of stronger thunderstorms across Central Africa. As strong winds move downward and outward from these thunderstorms, the wind kicks up dust as it moves across parts of the Saharan Desert and transports it into the upper atmosphere. This “plume” of dust follows the axis of the wave as it progresses westward into the Atlantic.
Larger, more concentrated plumes of Saharan dust begin to occur in April and continue through November.
Dust models continue to show, following the passage of tropical waves, moderate concentrations of Saharan Dust moving across Trinidad and Tobago over the next several weeks. Based on the latest model guidance, following this surge over the next 24-36 hours, another moderate surge is forecast by June 30th.
Sensitive groups such as persons with respiratory ailments, children, the elderly and cardiopulmonary disease should take the necessary precautions on days where dust concentrations degrade air quality to moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups.