Sahara dust not volcanic ash pollutes local air

| 19/04/2021 | 11 Comments
Cayman News Service
At 12,000ft, a layer of yellowish dust is a few thousand feet below (Photo by Stuart Mailer)

(CNS): The dusty atmosphere currently in the Cayman Islands is due to dust from the Sahara Desert and not the volcanic eruption of La Soufriere on St Vincent. The volcano erupted again at the weekend with another major explosion late Sunday afternoon, which caused a tall, dense ash plume rising some 3km into the air that drifted south and west. However, the ash does not appear to be impacting Cayman, according to local weather experts. John Tibbetts, Director General of the Cayman Islands National Weather Service, said the furthest west the ash has drifted is Curacao in the south-central Caribbean.

“The Weather Service has been monitoring the situation with regards to both the Sahara Dust and the Volcanic Ash and at this time we can say that we are tracking no volcanic ash clouds approaching the Cayman Islands. The latest official volcanic ash message at 8:03am this morning speaks only of ash clouds in the far eastern Caribbean,” he said.

Graphic by the Cayman Islands National Weather Service (click to enlarge)

Tibbetts said that the latest Sahara dust tracking by the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology indicated that a surge of dust will move across the Cayman Islands today.

“This product does not indicate the elevation where the Sahara dust is located and generally the Cayman Islands from time to time will be impacted by Sahara dust but for the most part the dust particles is usually suspended high in the atmosphere and not at the surface where it might produce breathing issues,” he added.

Nevertheless, Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee advised people with respiratory problems and those exercising outdoors to wear a mask.

Meanwhile, the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines have continued to suffer since the 4,000 foot volcano began erupting on 9 April. The volcano had been silent since 1979 but began rumbling in December, before the recent major explosions displaced some 20,000 people. They have been moved to camps but many of these temporary facilities lack basic services such as drinking water.

Click to enlarge

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Category: Science & Nature, Weather

Comments (11)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Less worried about dust, more worried about how one idiot who runs into a pole can disrupt traffic for hours and miles away.

    • Anonymous says:

      The marl road comments are pure gold. It’s all, “stay safe, folks” and “I pray everyone is okay”.

      For once, can people just think “what a selfish douche, who, in their quest to squeeze another couple of MPH out of their wheezy, rusty, crap heap Honda in order to try to get somewhere 30 seconds earlier, has now inflicted traffic chaos on hundreds of motorists who are already frustrated at the levels of traffic”.

  2. Anonymous says:

    That’s great and everything…but.. monitoring from actual pollution in the air every day from all the cars here? Where is that located?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Actually last time we had the sahara dust last year I did feel it made it more difficult for me to do my usual run. I run all the time and I don’t have respiratory conditions so some of us like to have that head up

  4. Cayman Sanction says:

    We have an even worse hazard plaguing these islands PPM i wish they could just blow away!

  5. Insurance says:

    More Sahara Dust less hurricanes. Good

  6. Anonymous says:

    Exactly what science based information has driven Dr. Lee to feel he needs to advise folks that are doing outside exercise to wearing a mask due to the non existent threat of Sahara dust+ 12,000 feet in the air column? People playing 18 holes of golf are exercising , should they wear a mask , Dr Lee?

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