A man drinks water at King’s Wharf, San Fernando, yesterday, which was recorded as the hottest day of the year.

Kalain Hosein

Trinidad officially recorded its hottest temperature for 2021 to date yesterday, with a maximum high of 34.5°C at the Piarco International Airport.

The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service (TTMS) is forecasting hot temperatures to continue this week, with maximum high temperatures of 34°C today and Thursday, with heat peaking tomorrow with a maximum high of 35°C. For Tobago, maximum high temperatures of 32°C are forecast through the week.

For a hot spell to be declared in Trinidad and Tobago by the TTMS, a period of hot temperatures, characterised by maximum temperatures of at least 34°C (above 33.9°C) in Trinidad and 32°C in Tobago, must last five or more consecutive days. A short-duration hot spell is three or more consecutive hot days.

It is important to note that for a hot spell, both a normal spell and a short-duration hot spell, the temperature criteria must be met for both Trinidad and Tobago.

September and October are usually the hottest period of the local heat season when maximum temperatures soar above 34°C, according to the Met Office.

The current outlook calls for few hot days, where maximum temperatures exceed 34°C, and at least one short-duration hot spell is likely during September to October 2021. The Met Office also notes the risk for hot days, and hot spells are highest for late September and early October.

Generally, cities, urban and developed areas have the highest chance for warmer than average temperatures and experience the most intense heat on hot days and heat events.

Higher than usual and extreme temperatures can lead to relatively excessive heat for Trinidad and Tobago during the peak of the local heat season, which can amplify existing health conditions in vulnerable persons and worsen chronic health conditions in others.

To protect from heat:

If air conditioning is not available in your home, go to a public place like a mall or library where air conditioning is available.

Take cool showers or baths.

Wear loose, lightweight, light-coloured clothing.

If you’re outside, find shade. Wear a hat wide enough to protect your face.

Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.

Avoid high-energy activities or work outdoors during the midday heat, if possible.

Check on family members, seniors and neighbours.

Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke.

Consider pet safety. If they are outside, make sure they have plenty of cool water and access to comfortable shade. Asphalt and dark pavements can be very hot to your pet’s feet.

If using a mask, use one made of breathable fabric, such as cotton, instead of polyester. Don’t wear a mask if you feel yourself overheating or have trouble breathing.