Although the country is not under a tropical storm threat, the weekend before Christmas is likely to be bleaky with a forecast of thundershowers, flash flooding and lightning strikes.
It is not good news for the communities of Diego Martin, Maraval, Maracas, Santa Cruz and others in north Trinidad which spent yesterday clearing roads of debris, mud and landslides. Many residents also had to clean their homes of mud and trees deposited by raging rivers.
“Lightning strikes and loud thunder peals will occur along with thundershowers. Street/flash flooding in the vicinity of heavy downpours is very likely. Sea conditions are anticipated to deteriorate in adverse weather conditions,” the Met Office said in a bulletin yesterday.
The Met Office said showers and thundershowers affected north and west Trinidad in an 18 to 24-hour period from Thursday.
“Some areas in these districts were inundated by rapid surface water runoff and even reported soil slippage along hilly locations,” it said, adding that the rainy weather will persist over the weekend.
Thursday’s rainfall and overnight landslides also led to power outages and a disruption of pipe-borne water. TTEC communications manager Stephen Martel said emergency crews quickly restored the power in Santa Cruz and Maraval but disclosed that there were also outages in south and central Trinidad, as well as in Barataria and Malick.
“We however had difficulties in accessing an area in Santa Cruz because of the flood and even in Maracas because of the landslides and a fallen pole. There were also minor outages in South and Central. We had an explosion in one of our substations in the East but the power outage caused by it was also quickly restored,” said Martel. The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) advised persons to avoid using the North Coast Road unless it is necessary because of the numerous landslides on the coastal road.
The ODPM coordinated teams from the Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Works, Ministry of Social Development and the Defence Force 1st Engineer Battalion to help clear a landslide on the road near the Maracas lookout. Hundreds of commuters were prevented from entering and exiting Santa Cruz along the Saddle Road and La Pastora Village on Thursday evening. Roads in these areas were temporarily closed for clean-up.
From at about 6 pm on Thursday, work crews began clearing the roads on which the Santa Cruz River deposited debris when it overflowed its banks near the Hololo bridge.
ODPM head Colonel George Robinson yesterday took a helicopter flight with officials to view the affected communities. “We are in direct contact with the various ministries to ensure that immediate relief was effectively being put in place. We are also keeping close contact with the Meteorological Office,” Robinson said.