Wednesday 5 August, 2020

New Saharan dust surge to affect T&T

Pictured: New Saharan dust plume to affect Trinidad and Tobago. Photo via Facebook, Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service.

Pictured: New Saharan dust plume to affect Trinidad and Tobago. Photo via Facebook, Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service.

A new Saharan dust haze alert has not been issued for Barbados, but one is in effect for neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago.

In spite of rains across Trinidad and Tobago associated with the passage of a tropical wave, asthma and allergy sufferers should prepare themselves as another Saharan dust plume is making its way across the Caribbean.

Recent surges saw air quality levels reaching “unhealthy” causing misery for many citizens.

The T&T Meteorological Service (Met Office) in an update today Wednesday (July 1) advised that the moisture associated with the passage of the tropical wave has kept the Saharan dust at bay, but a new plume is expected to affect T&T by this afternoon.

While it’s expected to be less intense in comparison to recent Saharan dust episodes the Met Office said current data indicates it won’t be too subdued.

The Met Office said the latest data analysis suggests that this new dust plume will remain in the atmosphere in significant amounts for at least the next four or five days. 

Those with respiratory ailments are advised to take the necessary precautions.

At unhealthy levels, there is an increased aggravation of respiratory symptoms in sensitive groups including older adults, children, and people with respiratory ailments and allergies; increased aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in people with heart or lung disease; increased respiratory effects in general population.

Protective measures include: covering the nose and mouth when outdoors; protecting eyes using sunglasses when outdoors; and keeping inhalers and allergy medication on hand.

Saharan dust is a mixture of sand and dust from the Sahara, the vast desert area that covers most of North Africa.

Saharan dust may contain various particles that can produce symptoms such as a dry cough, sore throat, itchy, watery eyes, sneezing and runny nose.

High levels of Saharan dust may worsen illness in persons at high risk of respiratory complications including those with pre-existing lung such as asthma disease, those with pre-existing heart disease, the elderly and children.

Citizens can monitor the air quality, in real-time, here: http://ei.weblakes.com/RTTPublic/DshBrdAQI

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