Image courtesy Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service (TTMS).

The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service (TTMS) has confirmed that 2021 kicked off with a record-breaking cold night in this country, when the maximum temperature cooled to 19°C at Piarco during the predawn hours today, January 5th, 2021.

The Met Service says the cold temperatures were due to colder air from the north encroaching onto Trinidad and Tobago, in conditions where the winds were mostly calm, with pre-existing very dry conditions and almost cloud-free skies for most of the night. This is the lowest temperature recorded at Piarco for January or any other month during the last decade, since 2011.

According to the Met Service, the last time January had a minimum temperature of 19.0°C was January of 2010. Still, it is not uncommon for January to produce minimum temperatures below 20°C, given that 50 of the 62 Januarys, from 1960 to 2021, have produced sub-20°C minimum temperatures. The lowest minimum temperature on record at Piarco is 16.1°C, which occurred on the nights of January 21st and 30th, 1964, followed by 16.4°C on January 28th, 1976.

In fact, 14 of the last January 25ths, since 1997, have produced minimum temperatures between 19.0°C and 19.8°C, while January of 2020 produced minimum temperatures of 19.5°C and 19.7°C on two nights.  January 2019 recorded a minimum of 19.2°C, and January 2017 produced a minimum of 19.3°C.

Generally, the coldest night in any given year in Trinidad and Tobago depends on individual weather systems present at the particular time, according to the Met Service.  However, they continued that this is always based on a seasonal cycle. On average, for much of T&T, the coldest nights occur from December to February, with January tending to be, on average, cooler than the other months.

It is for these and other reasons, the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service 2021 Dry Season Rainfall and Temperature Outlook indicated:

“Few nights during January and February are likely to be relatively cold with minimum temperatures falling below 20°C.”