Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Floodwaters cause havoc


Streets of water: Pedestrians make their way along the flooded Charlotte Street, Port of Spain, yesterday, during the heavy afternoon showers. —Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK

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SEVERAL parts of the country were under floodwaters by mid-afternoon yesterday, as steady rainfall that began mid-morning went well into the evening.

The sky was dark with rain clouds long before the sun went down and the streets submerged in some areas including downtown Port of Spain, Woodbrook and Santa Cruz.

On South Quay, commuters huddled in the City Gate Transport Terminal for over an hour, waiting for the water to subside.

Not far away, East Port of Spain residents kept an eye on the East Dry River, where the water level had reached the base of the bridge.

In all the floodwaters, debris consisting of plastic water bottles, food wrappers and various pieces of garbage floated en masse around the city.

In Santa Cruz, residents on Saddle Road in the vicinity of the School for the Blind were also stranded indoors, with the floodwater stretching all the way to Undercover Nurseries.

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) stated in its advisory yesterday that flooding was also reported at the Intersection of the Churchill Roosevelt and Uriah Butler Highway, Mt Lambert, El Socorro, Curepe, St Augustine South, Acono, Maracas, St Joseph, Maloney Gardens, Bon Air Gardens, Fiver Rivers, Valsayn North, Malabar, Golden Grove Road, Valencia and Manzanilla.

Reports of flooding also came out of some areas in South Trinidad.

The ODPM also reported that a bridge in Surrey Village, on the way to Lopinot, was said to have been washed away.

"The Disaster Management Units of the municipal corporations that have been adversely affected will be on the ground conducting damage assessments of the areas," the ODPM said.

Other First Responders, such as the Fire Service, the Engineer Battalion, the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force and the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, have also been called out.

Affected citizens are reminded that they must contact their municipal corporation or the ODPM toll-free at 800-6376.

In a weather bulletin yesterday evening, the Meteorological Office warned that the steady, day-long rainfall had left some rivers swollen and with possibility of more showers to come later in the night, citizens were advised to be wary of flooding on river banks.

The moderate to heavy showers experienced in several parts of Trinidad and Tobago from as early as mid-morning were a result of an active Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).

"As opposed to street/flash flooding, riverine flooding is more widespread and prolonged," the Met Office advised.

"Citizens are asked to be on the alert for rising river waters and possible overspill. All necessary measures must be taken to preserve life and property."

Trinidad and Tobago is not under any tropical storm watch, the office said, and another bulletin can be expected at 6 a.m. today, "if warranted".