A WEATHER expert yesterday warned that Sunday's devastating storm in San Fernando was nothing new and likely to happen again within the next two months.
Shakeer Baig, acting chief meteorologist at the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service, said what occurred on Sunday was a micro-burst.
He explained: "A micro-burst is a gust of wind from a centre cloud. This is not something that is unusual except for the intensity yesterday was stronger than usual. During the year, especially at this time of the year, temperatures during the morning time are very high."
He said on Sunday "the temperature during the first part of the day before midday got to 35 degrees Celsius. Whenever we have very light prevailing easterly winds and the temperature very high, what happens is that we get something called the sea breeze effect, where you have a lot of air over the land heating up and rising.And because your easterly wind is very light, you get a wind developing off the Gulf of Paria and blowing inland."
The bad weather felled a 100-ft tree near Rahamut's Service Station on Pointe-a-Pierre Road in San Fernando.
The tree fell after it was struck by lightning around 1.45 p.m., said eyewitness Sharon Hosein, an employee at the gas station.
She said witnessing the tree falling on the diesel tank mere metres away from the office where she was standing was "something I would not like to see happen again".
"We are grateful that there was no explosion in the station itself, and that there were no injuries and there was no one hurt. Things could have been a lot worse," she said.
The fallen tree also knocked out electricity in the area. Ted Jhilmit, a driver with the Forestry Division, said he spent yesterday morning clearing fallen trees knocked down by strong winds at San Fernando Hill.
The clean-up is expected to continue today. At Lady Hailes Avenue, Akheem Wankin was at home eating lunch with his five children on Sunday afternoon when he said he felt his wooden house shaking.
He ran outside with his children to see a large tree falling on the roof.
"I thought I would have died with heart attack," he said. But no one was injured. Five houses in the area were also affected by falling trees. Chairman of the National Self Help Commission Surujdeo Mangaroo visited storm-damaged homes at Lady Hailes Avenue yesterday.
And workers from the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP) were assisting residents in cutting and clearing trees.
Member of Parliament for San Fernando West Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan and local councillors also visited affected areas in San Fernando and distributed mattresses, food hampers and tarpaulins to victims.
Minister of the People and Social Development Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh, whose Ministry is responsible for the distribution of State funds for victims of disasters, visited 14 families who live at Bayshore, Marabella.
He distributed seven emergency food cards, valued at $450, that could only be used once; seven food hampers and 14 medical hampers.
Bandages, plasters, hand sanitisers, towels, pain-killers and antibacterial creams were included in the medical hampers.