'Moderate' Sahara dust to peak in mid-March: Met Office

Sahara dust covering Port of Spain. FILE PHOTO
Sahara dust covering Port of Spain. FILE PHOTO

Sahara dust concentrations were expected to peak on Friday and then linger for the rest of February and into early March with moderate concentrations, the Met Office predicts.

March and April are likely to have above-normal rainfall, it says.

"Despite this, many sunny days with typical dry season weather is expected, including visitation of typical dust events, but more so during March and April," said a Met Office official.

Typically February and March are the driest months of the year, with average rainfall totals of 49.6mm and 31.5mm respectively, so higher-than-average rainfall may not necessarily mean a significant amount of rain overall.

February's average rainfall is 49.6mm and the total recorded at Piarco up to 8am on Friday was 63mm.

Winds greater than 35 km/hr in the lower levels of the atmosphere are a regular occurrence during the dry season. This is known as a trade wind surge. This means the country can expect breezy to windy days, with moderate to strong gusts occasionally.

The Met Office said: "Once there is sufficient moisture in the atmosphere, strong trade winds can often result in showers being brisk and accompanied at times by gusty conditions, much like what we have been experiencing these last couple of days."

These wind surges can cause "above normal sea conditions" and agitated seas.

When strong winds hit the surface of the ocean, higher waves are produced. Wind-driven waves can be higher than 2.5 metres, causing rough sea conditions.

Once wave heights are predicted to reach above 2.5 metres for a prolonged period, the Met Office will issue a hazardous seas alert. It said such marine alerts are common during the dry season.

Reservoir levels

The Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) Facebook page gives these current water levels and long-term averages (LTAs). The LTA is over a 30-year period.

Arena Dam: 85.56% (LTA88.16%).

Hillsborough: 87.56 % (LTA 85.26%).

Hollis 72.59 % (84.4%).

Navet 90.25% (LTA 85.65%).


"‘Moderate’ Sahara dust to peak in mid-March: Met Office"

More in this section