Floods, landslides as tropical wave passes over Trinidad and Tobago


In this August 2020 file photo, a child measures the depth of flood water along Madras Road, St Helena. Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

SEVERAL areas in Trinidad experienced flooding, landslides and interruption in utility service on Friday as a result of the passage of a tropical wave.

On Thursday, the Meteorological Service issued a yellow-level adverse weather alert from 6 am to 6 pm on Friday. In an update on Friday afternoon, that alert was extended to noon on Sunday as the Met Office said that TT would be affected by another tropical wave from Saturday afternoon.

On Friday, rain from the first system began prior to 5 am in some areas. The Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government said all 14 corporations, the Rural Development Corporation, CEPEP and the municipal police were deployed at 5 am.

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) said there were reports of street flooding in Diego Martin, Tabaquite, Las Lomas, Gasparillo, Brasso Road, and Todd’s Road. Residential flooding was reported in Princes Town and San Fernando.

It said landslides were reported in St Augustine, Barrackpore, and at the 10km marker along the North Coast Road, as well as fallen trees in the North Coast Road and in the vicinity of Cleaver Woods.

The Ministry of Works and Transport, in a press release, said a major landslip on the North Coast Road, 11km mark (between the lookout and Maracas Bay), meant the road was open to single-lane traffic only as of 3 pm on Friday.

A technical team from the ministry was on site to assess the scale of repair work needed to restore full connectivity to traffic.

Later, Minister of Works Rohan Sinanan advised commuters to avoid travel on the North Coast Road this weekend.

The ODPM said responding agencies included the Ministry of Works, the fire service, and the disaster management units of the relevant regional corporations.

WASA said as the result of the tropical wave’s heavy rains, operations at several of its surface water treatment facilities were affected. It said several water treatment plants had been stopped due to high turbidity resulting in flooded river conditions and clogged intake screens.

These included facilities at Caura, La Pastora, Luengo/Naranjo, Aripo, Guanapo, Tompire, North Oropouche, Quare, Tyrico, Las Cuevas, La Fillette, Blanchisseuse, Santa Cruz, Matura, Biche, and the St Ann’s reservoir. The Highlands Road facility in Tobago was also affected.

The Navet plant was out of operation owing to power failure, affecting the areas of Princes Town, Tabaquite, Piparo, Rio Claro, parts of Mayaro, Tableland, Ste Madeleine, and Barrackpore. The Sans Souci and Gran Riviere plants were also without power.

Earlier in the day, street and flash flooding was reported in Williamsville, Union Hall, Barrackpore, Daisy Road, the M1 Tasker Road between Ste Madeleine and Princes Town, Eastern Main Road in Tunapuna, Champs Fleurs, and Arouca, Edinburgh 500, Las Lomas, Arima Old Road, Malabar, and Cocorite.

The TT Electricity Commission said several areas island-wide had experienced service disruption as a result of the adverse weather for several hours.

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