Press briefing by Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins – April 10, 2021. (PMO)

While computer models are predicting that in the next few days there will be just light haze from the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano, Acting Director of the Barbados Meteorological Services, Sabu Best, says this in no way compares to the impacts to be expected from volcanic ash.

Mr. Best, who was giving an update on the impact of the volcano on Barbados, at today’s press conference at Ilaro Court, said the volcanic ash was going to take complete precedence, in terms of the reduction to visibility and its impact. 

“It’s actually more harmful than the dust haze. One of the reasons is because the particle size is actually larger than the actual Sahara dust.”

Pointing out that the dust haze was a little easier to predict, as part of meteorology, he noted this was not so with forecasting volcanic ash.

While emphasising the primary concern was the volcanic ash, as there was no real significant contribution from the dust haze, he added: “I can tell you, we’ve been reporting visibility here, at times five kilometres and I believe honestly that in some sections, like St. Lucy…it probably goes down to maybe three kilometres horizontally. That’s really low.

“And, we haven’t had a dust haze outbreak that thick here, as far as I can remember…. There was a year that the dust haze did get that thick. It was really very thick, but it’s not a very common occurrence. But over the next few days, dust haze should not be a problem. Our concern really is the volcanic ash.”

From a meteorological perspective, the Acting Director reasoned there was currently nothing else in the atmosphere to worry about.

“We are not in the hurricane season yet, so that’s a plus and the swells in terms of the magnitude as well should be fine.  No excessive rainfall expected. There’s a negative impact right now that all this volcanic ash is going to have on any kind of precipitation that we will have coming through right now because of the abundance of the ash in the atmosphere,” he stated.

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