The Saharan dust is responsible for the spectacular sunsets seen recently. Photo: RICHARD CHARAN

WONDERING what you’ve done to deserve this suffering?

Fear not, some relief after a week of Saharan dust in the face is on the way.

But not before it gets worse.

The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service warned yesterday that the annual and unwelcome visitor from across the world is likely to increase its presence this weekend.

Saharan Air Layer (SAL) is an extremely hot, dry and dust-laden layer of air orginating over North Africa’s Sahara Desert, extending upwards from the surface for several kilometres.

The dust band is fed by strong, low to mid-level easterly winds that pull sand and dust particles into the atmosphere, generating the infamous annual dust haze.

Dusty, very dry and warm, this layer of air is pushed westward by easterly winds and on reaching the West African coast or eastern Atlantic Ocean, rides over the cooler, more moist surface air of the Atlantic Ocean, forming an atmospheric inversion layer or boundary: with warm, dry air aloft and cooler, moist air below.

When the SAL reaches the Atlantic Ocean, easterly trade winds carry the dust across at the lower and mid-levels, some of which, sometimes a lot, is dropped over Trinidad and Tobago and the southern Caribbean.

By Monday, however, the dust should lighten somewhat and offer reprieve.

Although the presence of the dust is currently considered mild by the Met Service, those afflicted with temperamental sinuses and respiratory problems are having a rough time.


Over the past week, many have taken to social media to complain, wish the dust away or seek advice as to reducing its effects.

Until the dust plume diminishes, hopefully, on Monday, here are some tips on mitigating the discomfort:

- Wear a dust or medical mask

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- Stay indoors with windows and doors closed

- Stay hydrated

- Change bedding regularly to prevent dust build up

- Flush eyes wth eye drops and wear sunglasses outside

- Keep dust out the house by using door mats

- Always keep relevant medication handy, particualarly where prone to asthma attacks


Trinidad and Tobago awoke on Sunday to news that the tropical wave that was expected to pass over the islands yesterday morning had developed into Tropical Storm Karen, and that the country was under a Tropical Storm warning.

All schools are to remain closed today. However, Government offices and businesses will be open as usual. National Security Minister Stuart Young made the announcement yesterday, during a joint media conference, held at the ministry’s office, Port of Spain.

PUBLIC UTILITIES Minister Robert Le Hunte said yesterday that the passage of Tropical Storm Karen would go a long way in restoring Trinidad’s supply of potable water.

Dormant for 22 years, the Piparo Mud Volcano has stirred to life, and there is a strong likelihood that it will blow. Senior geoscientist at Touchstone Exploration, Xavier Moonan, who visited the site yesterday, said he had found all the signs for a significant eruption.