Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Overwhelmed by floods


SOAKED: Pupils put on their shoes after walking through flood waters on Henry Street, Port of Spain, yesterday. —Photo: ANISTO ALVES

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MAROONED: The scene on Independence Square yesterday as motorists drive through flood waters following the heavy midday showers. —Photo: ANISTO ALVES

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Stranded commuters yesterday were amazed at how fast they were overwhelmed with flood waters in the Morvant and Barataria areas after persistent showers after noon.

Several employees from the Vehicle Management Company of Trinidad and Tobago yesterday scampered to move their personal vehicles as rising waters threatened the compound.

Others remained marooned on the compound on the Beetham Highway as word of more serious flooding in both Port of Spain and lower Morvant reached the workers.

In the lower parts of Morvant and near the Barataria roundabout, people sought higher ground to avoid debris floating on the flood waters.

"Just that lil bit of rain and the next thing you know, we can't move," one man said as he folded up his pants to wade through the waters.

"Right now, we can't go east, we cant go west, because it flooding in Port of Spain and it flooding by the junction," he said.

Commuters at City Gate, the main transit hub, in Port of Spain were stranded as South Quay was submerged and access into and out of the city was blocked by rising flood waters, which took longer to recede due to the high tide.

By midday the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service issued a statement advising that Trinidad and Tobago would experience "light to moderate showers" and "thundershowers in various locations, gradually becoming settled" with an advisory that "gusty winds, street and flash flooding" should be expected.

By 1.30 p.m., the Met office issued a second release saying that an Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) activity would affect Trinidad for "two to four hours".

"We strongly underscore that Trinidad and Tobago is not under any tropical storm threat, watch or warning," the statement signed by meteorologist Saide Shakeer said.

By 2 p.m. the Office of Disaster Preparedness (ODPM) issued a public advisory of reported flooding in Lower Nelson Street, Wrightson Road, Abattoir Road, Port of Spain proper, Cocorite Road near West Mall, Independence Square, South Quay and Ariapita Avenue near the Princess Elizabeth Home.

The ODPM advised that persons heading out and in to the capital city delay their travel plans for at lease four hours.

By early afternoon the police had lifted the restrictions on the Priority Bus Route, allowing drivers to use it to leave Port of Spain.

Motorists were seen diverting from the congested Churchill Roosevelt Highway and near a small turn-off through Beetham in order to access the Eastern Main Road.