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CARIB | Jul 19, 2021

More Saharan dust likely for Jamaica as Eastern Caribbean shrouded

Gavin Riley

Gavin Riley / Our Today

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Satellite imagery of the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) over sections of the Caribbean on Monday, July 19. (Photo: tropic.ssec.wisc.edu)

Jamaica may start to feel the effects of more Saharan dust this week, as a new cloud has reached the eastern fringes of the Caribbean on Monday (July 19).

According to satellite imagery tracking the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) over the last 24 hours, a moderate plume now completely shrouds much of the Eastern Caribbean—from as far north as Puerto Rico to just above Tobago in the south.

A thin layer covers a large area of the central Caribbean basin, with skies over Jamaica, Hispaniola and Cuba being mostly clear.

For their parts, the St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago meteorological services have both issued varying degrees of advisories.

The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service (TTMS), in its morning bulletin for the twin-island republic and the Lesser Antilles, told citizens to expect “mostly fair, hazy and breezy, except for a few showery interruptions”.

St Lucian Met Service also forecasts fair, hazy and breezy conditions for the island, becoming cloudy at times with a few scattered showers.

The agency further advised persons with respiratory ailments and dust allergies to exercise caution due to poor air quality.

Activity in the Caribbean basin as at 10:00 am, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on Monday, July 19. The Saharan dust plume can easily be seen in the time-lapse loop. (Content courtesy of NHC/NOAA)

For the time being, however, the Jamaica Meteorological Service indicated that a trough is expected to remain as the dominant influence today, before giving way to a high-pressure ridge by Tuesday.

In its 5:00 am forecast, the Met Service urged Jamaicans to anticipate isolated morning showers across sections of eastern parishes, while it should be mostly fair elsewhere.

Isolated afternoon showers and thunderstorms are likely across sections of central and western parishes. The agency said windy conditions would persist over Jamaica’s southern parishes.

The maximum temperature expected for cities Kingston and Montego Bay today is 33 degrees Celcius.

Breakdown of towns and cities forecast: 

Towns and CitiesForecast
Morant BayMorning showers/Windy
KingstonPartly cloudy/Windy
Half-Way-TreePartly cloudy/Windy
PortmorePartly cloudy/Windy
Spanish TownPartly cloudy/Windy
May PenPartly cloudy/Windy
MandevilleAfternoon showers/Windy
Santa CruzAfternoon showers/Windy
Black RiverAfternoon showers/Windy
Savanna-La-MarAfternoon thunderstorms
NegrilAfternoon thunderstorms
Port AntonioMorning showers
Port MariaMorning showers
Ocho RiosAfternoon showers
St Ann’s BayAfternoon showers
Browns TownAfternoon showers
FalmouthAfternoon thunderstorms
Montego BayAfternoon thunderstorms
LuceaAfternoon thunderstorms

The Jamaica Met Service is reminding fisherfolk and marine interests that a small craft warning remains in effect for inshore and offshore areas of the south coast and also offshore areas of the north coast due to strong winds and rough seas.

The agency further disclosed that it is tracking a tropical wave just east of Jamaica, the Met Service said there is “no significant rainfall associated with this system”.

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