Yesterday was a day of ice and fire at Piarco, or at least what felt like fire.
The T&T Meteorological Service recorded a maximum high temperature of 35.5°C, the highest temperature at the site for 2020.
The oppressive heat led to something much rarer across Piarco yesterday afternoon – pea-sized hail and a tornado just northeast of the area.
For those who dangerously braved the gusty winds, intense rainfall, and cloud-to-ground lightning, they found small spheres of ice, quickly melting on the hot surface in Piarco.
Videos circulating on social media showed staff at the Piarco International Airport picking up the tiny chunks of ice, melting in their hands. For those that live in the area, this hail would have sounded like large raindrops hitting the roof, as it is too small for damage, and it was too hot for any accumulation.
The severe thunderstorm, triggered by yesterday’s high temperature or what forecasters call strong daytime heating, as well as light low-level winds, produced torrential rainfall, gusty winds, a tornado in D’Abadie, and, as mentioned, hail in Piarco.
Shortly after 3 pm, a funnel cloud was spotted by residents living between Arouca and Arima, descending toward Mausica and D’Abadie.
By 3.15 pm, swirling debris comprising of galvanize sheets and tree limbs were observed from Lopinot and Mausica.
The tornado had touched down in Crescent Gardens, D’Abadie. MP for the area, Lisa Morris-Julian, asked residents of the area to check in on a Facebook post with one responder, Renee Thomas, stating “We’re okay, just traumatised.”
At least three houses have been affected in the area, with assessments by the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation’s Disaster Management Unit ongoing.
Though little to no rainfall fell across D’Abadie, a torrential downpour flooded parts of Arouca for the eighth time this year.
Flooding occurred in the Five Rivers area, as well as along the Eastern Main Road in Arouca. Floodwaters quickly subsided as rainfall ceased.
With sustained winds up to 50 kilometers per hour, gusty winds, with higher gusts, were recorded across Tacarigua, Trinicty, Piarco, and Oropune as the severe thunderstorm as quickly as it formed, dissipated. Strong winds ripped off roofs at St. Michael’s Road in Tacarigua, with projectiles flying through the air in Paradise, Tacarigua causing property damage. In Cane Hill, Trincity, a roof was reported to be blown off.
Severe thunderstorms, such as the one observed yesterday, are uncommon for Trinidad, though one occurred last Wednesday, producing a tornado in Chase Village.