Weather system passes over Trinidad and Tobago – Flooding, fallen trees, damage to homes

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

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WATER STROLL: A woman walks through flood water at her home in Rahamut Trace, Woodland on Thursday following heavy showers the night before. PHOTOS BY ROGER JACOB –

THE large band of disorganised clouds passed over the islands between Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, causing heavy rainfall in several areas which led to flooding; while several houses suffered damage to roofs and some trees were uprooted.

People on Thursday shared their experiences with Newsday. People living in Curepe said there was little rain and no strong wind. Port of Spain too, had just a light drizzle but no high winds.

Chaguanas experienced “strong, short bursts of rain” from about 9-10 pm. In Diego Martin the wind worsened after 8 pm.

“The wind started beating and trees started breaking,” a Diego Martin resident said. “We had a power outage for about two hours, until 10 pm. We had a couple of downpours.” He said very high winds blew off galvanise from a few roofs and felled some trees.

The weather system, up to press time, was passing over the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao) en route to the Caribbean Sea where weather forecasters were predicting strengthening into a tropical storm.

Penal/Debe Regional Corporation chairman Dr Allen Sammy told Newsday three residents reported flood damage in Woodlands, and six in Debe Trace/Suchit Trace. Supersaturated soil contributed to flooding, he said.

Saying the Curamata and Oropouche Rivers were virtually full since 8 am on Wednesday, Sammy said, “It is now high tide, so it is likely they have overflowed their banks.” At one time only trucks could enter Woodlands, he related.

Saying flooded areas in a drainage basin from Princes Town to the Gulf of Paria, Sammy urged short, medium and long term remedies, dismissing “patching and fixing” as just palliatives.

RIVER LEVELS RISE

The Ministry of Rural Affairs and Local Government on Thursday morning said river levels were rising, given high tide set for 2.33 pm and low tide only due at 8.22 pm.

“The South Oropouche River has breached its banks in some parts with water spilling into some communities in South Trinidad. We urge the public to take caution.” The ministry said that river was at 82 per cent capacity.

The Caroni River at El Carmen was at 76 per cent capacity and at Bamboo at 67 per cent.

Other rivers were Arouca (38 per cent), North Oropouche at Todd’s Road (36 per cent), Caparo (35 per cent), and Aripo (15 per cent).

The ministry tweeted, “Other major rivers are contained at this time and are being closely monitored.

“Please be advised that high tides will result in slower water run-off. Affected communities are urged to call relevant disaster management units.”

THE DAMAGE

The ministry reported 18 floods (six in each of San Fernando and Siparia corporation areas), 11 hazardous/fallen trees (with nine in Diego Martin) and seven reports of high wind/roof damage (two cases in each of the Diego Martin and San Juan/Laventille corporation areas.)

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) at 9.30 am on Thursday, said only the north central region had reported no incidents.

The South Oropouche river in Pluck Road which was near to bursting its banks on Thursday. –

Reports in north west Trinidad were of a partially blown-off roof at Monchelleua Hill, Paramin, Maraval; no electricity at Sunset Drive, Bagatelle Road, Diego Martin, due to a sheet of galvanize cutting overhead power lines; and a fallen tree pulling down power lines at Saut D’Eau Road, Morne Cyril, Paramin.

In south central Trinidad, the ODPM reported street flooding along the M1 Tasker Road and the M2 Ring Road junction, plus residential flooding at Rig Road North, Claxton Bay.

Residential flooding was reported at Suchit Trace, Penal and Siparia Road, Fyzabad, in south west Trinidad.

In central Trinidad, the ODPM reported residential flooding at Caratal Road, Cumuto; a damaged roof due to high winds at Bestry Extension, Serrier Circular, Guayaguayare; a blown off roof at North Manzanilla; and a fallen tree blocking access to a house at El Reposo Main Road, Sangre Grande.

From Tobago, came reports of a fallen tree blocking the road on the Roxborough-Bloody Bay link road near Roxborough Secondary School, and a tree falling on a house at Mt St George.