PARTS of Central Trinidad were yesterday hit by an intense rainstorm that lasted less than an hour, with some residents reporting seeing a tornado-like phenomenon.
The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) issued a bulletin, warning of more bad weather to come, but by early afternoon the skies had cleared.
Flash floods and wind-related damage were reported at Warden Lane, Penco Avenue and Cemetery Street, Longdenville, Caroni Savannah Road and Aisle Street, Enterprise.
Homes were flooded at Cacandee Road and Lyle Lane in Felicity, and a business owner in Chaguanas reported hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses as a result of the flood waters.
Lincoln Francis, 73, a home and business owner at the corner of Church Street and Jerningham Road in Cunupia, said the storm hit around 1 p.m.
He said: “The wind was spinning like in those big countries, when it have tornadoes and the wind was taking up everything with it. Half of the galvanise (roofing sheets) and the ceiling of the house gone.”
Francis, who has a radiator repair business, said: “I told my wife I see how them people in America does suffer.”
Francis’s daughter Karen Francis, 27, said the extreme weather started with a drizzle.
“And then suddenly there was a downpour. The wind became heavy and loud and made a rumbling. We looked out to see what was happening. The place was gray and things were flying in the air. Galvanise (roofing sheets) were flying. It came down on us, and our galvanise and ceiling went over to the neighbours’ house. Other houses also looked destroyed,” she said.
Radica Mohammed, who operates a FireOne Fireworks franchise near Price Plaza, Chaguanas, said, “When I saw the rains, I saw the water rising and I realised it was a disaster waiting to happen.”
Mohammed said she attempted to raise her tent above the level of the rising water.
“I called the Chaguanas Borough Corporation and they kept transferring me from person to person. Finally someone told me it is not their concern, but a matter for the Ministry of Works.”
She said within ten minutes the entire mall compound was flooded.
She said she could only look on helplessly as the products floated away.
Mohammed said she saw some cars covered in more than four feet of water.
Mohammed said she had called the Corporation a week ago to alert them that the drains around the mall needed cleaning, but nothing was done.
Chaguanas Mayor Orlando Nagessar said the Disaster Unit of the Chaguanas Borough Corporation responded to some 20 homes in Felicity that were under flood waters.
Nagessar said: “This is the worst rain I have seen for the year. It was incessant rain for more than half an hour. The roads were barely visible to drivers.”
Nagessar, in response to a claim that the Chaguanas Borough Corporation was told by a business owner to clean drains in and around Price Plaza last week said: “The (Chaguanas) Borough (Corporation) will take no responsibility for that. That is a private plaza built by multimillionaires and they should be held responsible for its maintenance. Private developers have to clean up their own messes.”