Tropical-storm-force wind gusts ripped across Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday afternoon, downing trees, triggering power outages, and ripping off roofs across the country.
Wind gusts up to 70 kilometres per hour were recorded at Piarco in Trinidad, and up to 60 kilometers per hour at Crown Point, Tobago.
Wind damage has been reported across all areas of the country. Several homes were affected, with partial or entire roofs blown off in San Juan, Sangre Grande, Tacarigua, Lower Cumuto, and Arima.
Fallen trees were reported along the Southern Main Road in Vessigny and Rousillac, hindering traffic.
Across northern Trinidad, fallen trees were reported from as west as San Juan to as east as Toco and Manzanilla.
While there were no injuries, trees fell on vehicles at Century Drive, Macoya Industrial Estate, and in Toco.
Many trees fell across the East-West Corridor, blocking roadways on the Eastern Main Road in Tacarigua and D’Abadie and across Valencia.
These fallen trees and gusty winds damaged power lines, bringing down utility poles and lines across mainly eastern and southern Trinidad.
According to T&TEC, the Commission received a high volume of calls on Thursday afternoon, overwhelming their call centre.
As of last night,T&TEC crews were dispatched to parts of La Horquetta, Sangre Grande, Trincity, Valencia, La Resource, Little Caura, Caratal, Plum Mitan, and Pepper Village, Mayaro.
Heavy showers and thunderstorms also caused severe flash flooding along the Golconda Connector Road in the vicinity of VMCOTT, the SS Erin Road in Debe, and the Southern Main Road near SM Jaleel.
In Tobago, a landslide was reported at Des Vignes Road, partially blocking the roadway and at a fallen tree blocked Silk Cotton Trace in Bon Accord, which also pulled down utility lines.
A tropical wave is moving across the country with a low-level jet just north of the country. This narrow band of strong winds can make its way to the surface in shower and thunderstorm activity. Winds become particularly strong when showers and thunderstorms are dissipating, making it to the surface in outflow boundaries, where strong winds hit the earth’s surface like a ripple in a pond and radiate outwards.
These strong winds peaked on Thursday afternoon into the overnight hours, resulting in gusty winds moving across the country, with generally windy conditions.
Mere minutes before the strongest winds began to affect the country, the T&T Meteorological Service (TTMS) issued a yellow-level Adverse Weather Alert for both islands, in effect from 2.20 pm Thursday through 4.00 pm Friday.
According to the TTMS, “There is a high chance (80 per cent) of wind gusts in excess of 55 kilometres per hour in the vicinity of showers and thunderstorms associated with the passage of a Tropical Wave. Street flooding is also likely in heavy downpours. Seas can become agitated at times, near gusty winds.”
The Met Office is advising the public to secure loose items and livestock, take necessary precautions, monitor weather conditions, and monitor updates from official sources.