Tropical Storm Dorian – What’s Forecast For Trinidad and Tobago?

As Tropical Storm Dorian skirts by, north of Trinidad and Tobago, tropical storm and hurricane watches, as well as tropical storm warnings are in effect for much of the Windward Islands. However, no alerts, watches or warnings are in effect for Trinidad and Tobago.

There are NO alerts, watches or warnings in effect for Trinidad and Tobago from the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service at this time.

So, what do we expect? Dry, Saharan dust continues to plague the Eastern Caribbean, which has kept Dorian at bay from rapidly strengthening. It has also been detrimental to feeder bands as they near Trinidad and Tobago.

Dry mid-levels of the atmosphere have also limited daytime heating and sea breeze convergence to trigger heavy showers and thunderstorms through the early afternoon. However, this is likely to change over the next several hours.

400 Kilometer Radar Imagery from the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service through Monday morning as Tropical Storm Dorian moves through the region, with a feeder band approaching Trinidad and Tobago.
400 Kilometer Radar Imagery from the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service through Monday morning as Tropical Storm Dorian moves through the region, with a feeder band approaching Trinidad and Tobago.

What to Expect Through Wednesday

Reiterating: As of 1:00 PM Monday 26th August 2019, there are no alerts, watches or warnings in effect for Trinidad and Tobago.

Composite Radar Imagery from the Barbados Meteorological Service as Tropical Storm Dorian nears the island.
Composite Radar Imagery from the Barbados Meteorological Service as Tropical Storm Dorian nears the island.

Tropical Storm Dorian, though some periphery effects are possible, is not forecast to have major impacts across Trinidad and Tobago.

However, because of Trinidad and Tobago’s high vulnerability to flooding, landslides and wind damage, all it takes is one severe thunderstorm to wreak havoc across the islands.

The remainder of Monday: Unrelated to Dorian, through the afternoon, daytime heating and sea breeze convergence will result in isolated showers, mainly across Western and Northern Trinidad. A few of these showers, particularly along Western Coastal Trinidad and the north-facing slopes of the Northern Range may develop into heavy showers or thunderstorms.

Radar Imagery from the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service showing isolated to scattered showers occurring across the Western and Northern halves of Trinidad.
Radar Imagery from the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service showing isolated to scattered showers occurring across the Western and Northern halves of Trinidad.

Related to Dorian: Showers and thunderstorms from the periphery of Tropical Storm Dorian to our north may begin to affect parts of Tobago and the Northern half of Trinidad by the late afternoon through the night, interrupting mostly settled skies. As of 1:00 PM, the first outer band ahead of the tropical storm is nearing Trinidad, south of Tobago.

Winds today continue to be from the northeast at low-levels due to Tropical Storm Dorian’s influence on our wind regime. Overnight, these winds are forecast to become more northerly.

What this means weather-wise is that any showers that develop due to daytime heating and sea breeze convergence will move southwesterly, particularly in the late evening into the night.

By nightfall, increasing showers are likely, mainly across the Northern half of Trinidad and Tobago as Tropical Storm Dorian moves south of/across Barbados and north of Tobago. The Southern half of Trinidad is forecast to remain mostly settled, with the odd isolated shower moving south to southwest across the island.

Note that King Tides are forecast to begin on Wednesday. This means higher than usual high tides and lower than usual low tides. Seas are forecast to become moderate with waves up to 2.5 meters in open waters. Occasional large waves up to 3.0 meters and dangerous rip-tides are possible, particularly along the North Coast of Trinidad. These will create unsafe conditions for small-craft operators and fishermen and persons with marine interests. Extreme caution is advised.

Tuesday: Winds are forecast to be near calm initially, then from the south as Tropical Storm Dorian remains north of T&T. This means that sea breeze convergence is forecast to initiate showers across the Northern Range and the northern coast of Tobago and the prevailing winds will cause orographic lift (air being forced upwards by the mountainous terrain).

These factors, combined with our usual local climate regime and increased moisture may result in locally heavy showers and thunderstorms across the northern half of Trinidad, as well as parts of Tobago.

Isolated showers, particularly by the late morning through the afternoon, are forecast across Southern Trinidad. Parts of Southwestern Trinidad may experience thunderstorm activity.

Street and flash flooding, gusty winds and landslides are possible in the vicinity of or accompanying heavy showers and thunderstorms.

Seas are forecast to become moderate with waves up to 2.5 meters in open waters. Occasional large waves up to 3.0 meters and dangerous rip-tides are possible, particularly along the North Coast of Trinidad. These will create unsafe conditions for small-craft operators and fishermen and persons with marine interests. Extreme caution is advised.

Wednesday: Winds are forecast to be from the Southeast as Tropical Storm Dorian moves into the Caribbean Sea. This means that sea breeze convergence and daytime heating are forecast to initiate showers across Trinidad, particularly along the south-facing slopes of Northern Range and the southern coast of Tobago.

The prevailing winds will cause orographic lift (air being forced upwards by the mountainous terrain). These factors, combined with our usual local climate regime and increased moisture may result in locally heavy showers and thunderstorms across the northern half of Trinidad, as well as parts of Tobago.

Isolated showers, particularly by the late morning through the afternoon, are forecast across Southern Trinidad. Parts of Southwestern Trinidad may experience thunderstorm activity.

Street and flash flooding, gusty winds and landslides are possible in the vicinity of or accompanying heavy showers and thunderstorms.

Note that King Tides are forecast to begin on Wednesday. Seas are forecast to become moderate with waves up to 2.5 meters in open waters. Occasional large waves up to 3.0 meters and dangerous rip-tides are possible, particularly along the North Coast of Trinidad. These will create unsafe conditions for small-craft operators and fishermen and persons with marine interests. Extreme caution is advised.

Over the 3-day period for T&T

Winds: Sustained surface winds between 20 KM/H and 40 KM/H with higher gusts up to 65 KM/H are possible in heavy showers or thunderstorms across Trinidad and Tobago late Monday evening through Wednesday as Tropical Storm Dorian traverses the region.

With wind gusts up to 65 KM/H, whole trees are expected to be in motion and there may be some inconvenience when walking against the wind gusts. Light outdoor objects may topple or become airborne such as garbage cans, potted plants, loose galvanize or construction material and other outdoor furniture. Tents may jump. Older/weaker trees may fall, bringing down utility poles and lines.

High Wind Event Precautions
High Wind Event Precautions

Rainfall: In addition, pockets of moderate to heavy showers, periods of rain and scattered thunderstorms are expected. Rainfall accumulations of at least 1 to 2 inches (25 to 50 mm) are possible with isolated higher amounts. As a result, some street and flash flooding are possible in low-lying areas thus, residents are urged to be on the alert and take all necessary precautions.

Generally, with heavy showers and thunderstorm activity, street flooding, particularly in flood-prone areas or areas with poor drainage, is possible as well as flash flooding in areas where more prolonged heavy rainfall may occur.

Seas: Waves and swells of 2.0 to 2.5 meters, occasionally up to 3.0 meters are also forecast to accompany the system, particularly on Tuesday. Low-lying coastlines around the island will be particularly vulnerable at times of high tide. Large waves and dangerous rip-tides can be expected. These will create unsafe conditions for small-craft operators and fishermen. Note that king tides are forecast to begin on Wednesday, which means higher than normal high tides are expected. Coastal flooding possible, particularly along the northern and eastern coastlines of Trinidad and Tobago.

Landslides: Heavy showers across the Northern Range may trigger landslides in landslide-prone areas. Particularly in areas that receive heavy rainfall, landslides and/or mudflows may occur across both islands. These landslides, in addition to gusty winds, may down trees, utility poles and impede traffic on roadways.

Frequent Lightning: In addition, with thunderstorms, frequent lightning is likely.

Why I May Not/Will Not See Constant Rainfall?

A frequent complaint is the forecast is wrong because I didn’t experience any rainfall. Scattered showers mean that you, individually, may experience some showers intermittently throughout the day and there is a higher chance for this activity than isolated activity.

Over the next coming days, isolated to scattered activity is forecast – a combination of sea breeze convergence, day time heating and intermittent feeder band activity from Tropical Storm Dorian.

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