Brace for more bad weather, says Trinidad and Tobago Met Office

By NEWSDAY

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People walk along the flooded Eastern Main Road leading to the police station in Sangre Grande. PHOTO BY ENRIQUE ASSOON

(NEWSDAY) — There will be no let-up yet in the unusual weather conditions which brought chaos and destruction over the past few days. The Meteorological Service is warning the country to brace for more rain and flooding until 6 pm on Tuesday.

While widespread flooding has so far been confined largely to the eastern and central regions of Trinidad, the Met Office is warning residents in areas not yet affected to plan an emergency response to safeguard their lives and properties.

The intense rain over the past three days has already caused the suspension of air and land travel. Roads, including the Uriah Butler Highway, have been cut off, communities isolated and homes evacuated. Householders are trying to assess the damage to their properties and infrastructure.

However, the Met Office said it is not yet over. It has revised its previous advisory, which said the bad weather would last until today. The adverse weather alert is at orange level and the riverine flood alert at red until October 26.

It explained riverine flooding occurs when water levels in a river overtop its banks and spill onto surrounding areas. This type of flooding is more widespread and usually lasts for several days.

“Currently river levels have exceeded threshold levels, and some have already overspilled their banks. Additional rainfall is expected. Hence river levels will remain at an elevated level over the next several days.”

The Met Office said the active ITCZ will continue to produce intermittent periods of rain or showers or thunderstorms until Tuesday. This could lead to flash flooding and exacerbate the existing riverine flooding. It said the showers may be heavy or torrential at times and produce damaging gusty winds.

With the increase rainfall on saturated soil, landslips are also likely in areas prone to them.

The Met Office warned that preparations to protect life, livelihood and property especially by those who live in the Caroni River Basin, should be “rushed to completion immediately” if not completed as yet.

“Be on the alert for rising river levels and possible overspill. Do not take unnecessary risks. There is a very high potential for major damage to property and infrastructure and for multiple lives to be lost.”

People whose homes are not flooded out should stay indoors until the all-clear is given by government officials and monitor official sources for information.

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