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House, nets destroyed as rough seas pound north-east

By Gyasi Gonzales

TOBAGO’s north coast received a severe pounding from the wee hours of Monday morning, but Toco, Balandra, Sans Souci and Grande Riviere on Trinidad’s north-east coast got their share as well that afternoon and night with powerful waves destroying fishermen’s nets and even claiming a house.

Toco Councillor Terry Rondon spoke about the phenomenon yesterday and described it as destructive, severe and one of the most amazing things he has ever witnessed.

According to the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service, the three-metre waves that caused havoc in Mt Irvine and Parlatuvier on Monday were generated as a result of the passage of a frontal system in the Atlantic Ocean, north of the Lesser Antilles.

An official at the Met Office added that sometimes these systems can cause swells that are projected downwards, to the south, hence the effect on Tobago’s north and west coasts and Trinidad’s north-east coast.

According to Rondon, the river at Grande Riviere that had been diverted many years ago has resumed its original course and as a result one of the community’s prized hotels got damaged.

Rondon also reported that more than $400,000 in fishing nets owned by Toco fishermen got carried out to sea, while the nets that were not taken by the waves are beyond repair.

“I am looking forward to a quick response from Government,” said Rondon.

The councillor also lauded CNC3 weatherman Eric Mackie, who frantically telephoned him on Monday and warned him that since Tobago’s north coast had been hit, Toco and the north coast of Trinidad were next.

Rondon said he was able to alert members of Toco’s fishing community about the rough weather.

“I am sure lives were saved because it was really bad.” The normally calm Gulf of Paria was also affected and users of the water taxi service that transports passengers from north to south Trinidad had their own horror stories as well.

An employee at the Express claimed the water taxi experienced great difficulty docking in Port of Spain yesterday morning and instead had to be moored off Hyatt Regency hotel in the International Waterfront Complex.

And with the vessel pitching up and down, disembarking from the boat was difficult.

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