Tropical Wave 17: Nearly 100 Reports Of Wind Damage Across T&T

Tropical-storm-force wind gusts moved across Trinidad and Tobago on July 8th, 2021, associated with the passage of Tropical Wave 17. Approximately 111 reports of adverse weather impacts were reported across the country, with 97 reports of wind damage, eight reports of flooding, and six landslides with at least 75 power outages. Fallen trees knocked out Digicel’s network to Tobago, with wind damage and a landslide reported on the island.

What caused the gusty winds?

Peak wind gusts associated with Tropical Wave 17
Peak wind gusts associated with Tropical Wave 17

A low-level jet, or an area of strong winds at low levels of the atmosphere, was present across the Windward Islands on Thursday. These stronger winds can make it down to the surface in heavy showers and thunderstorms, particularly in dissipating activity.

When these strong winds make it to the surface, the winds can hit the ground in a concentrated area and radiate outward like a ripple in a pond. This activity is known as a downburst and causes substantial wind damage across a fairly large area.

Diagram of convective precipitation, the basis of shower and thunderstorm development. When a thunderstorm or shower begins to dissipate, the downdraft overpowers the updraft, effectively “raining itself out.”
Diagram of convective precipitation, the basis of shower and thunderstorm development. When a thunderstorm or shower begins to dissipate, the downdraft overpowers the updraft, effectively “raining itself out.” 

For this inclement weather event, separate thunderstorms caused damage across the northeastern and north-central Trinidad, central Trinidad, southwestern Trinidad, and Tobago.

The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service issued an Adverse Weather Alert (Yellow Level) for T&T at 2:15 PM, shortly before the worst of the winds began to affect the country.

Which areas were affected?

Inclement weather reports across the country associated with Tropical Wave 17
Inclement weather reports across the country associated with Tropical Wave 17

Of the 14 municipal corporations across Trinidad, 11 had inclement weather reports by Trinidad and Tobago Weather Center’s count. Additionally, Tobago also had two inclement weather reports, not including their telecommunications outage. The hardest-hit municipal corporations were Tunapuna/Piarco, Sangre Grande, Arima and San Juan/Lavantille, as well as Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo.

Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation (TPRC)

Inclement weather reports from the TPRC associated with Tropical Wave 17
Inclement weather reports from the TPRC associated with Tropical Wave 17

The Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation was arguably the hardest hit, with 15 reports of fallen trees or poles, 15 reports of wind damage, and one landslide.

Within this area, wind gusts up to 70 KM/H were recorded at Piarco. Fallen trees were widely reported across the East-West Corridor, from D’Abadie, to well into the Northern Range in Lopinot and as south as Valsayn South and Bamboo #2. Strong winds caused power outages and sparking power lines across this area.

The Eastern Main Road became temporarily impassable as a large tree fell across the roadway in Tacarigua. A tree also fell onto a vehicle at Century Drive, Macoya Industrial Estate. A landslide was also reported along Riverside Road, Maracas St. Joseph.

TPRC Chairman Kwasi Robinson told the Trinidad Express in a telephone interview yesterday that over two dozen uprooted trees/broken branches in the region, which stretches from Blanchisseuse in the northeast, Wallerfield in the East, Maracas in the west, and Caroni in the central.

“It’s a fairly large area, and the terrain creates a lot of landslips. We had a few small landslips, but mostly trees were uprooted. We cut most of them on Thursday night, and currently, we continue to do assessments.”

Sangre Grande Regional Corporation (SGRC)

Inclement weather reports from the SGRC associated with Tropical Wave 17
Inclement weather reports from the SGRC associated with Tropical Wave 17

With 15 adverse weather reports in this area, the SGRC was the second-hardest hit municipal corporation. There were three reports of fallen trees or poles, one of which fell on a vehicle in Cumana, 11 reports of roof damage.

According to Councillor for Toco/Fishing Pond Terry Rondon, there was, unfortunately, one collapsed structure, also in Toco.

“We had damage in Valencia with roofs blown off. At least one house had a tree fall on it. A tree fell in Cumana and damaged a car. All in all, thank God there was no loss of life. Today (Friday), we have kinder weather. Although it was forecast we would have had rain, there was not much rain,” he said in an interview with Trinidad Express.

T&TEC had to respond to several power outages in this region, as several trees damaged utility lines, poles, and transformers across Sangre Grande and environs. Fallen trees were reported on Oropouche Road, Solider Lane, and Lewis Lane, affecting power lines and blocking the roadway.

Fallen trees were also reported but cleared by motorists and nearby residents along the Manzanilla-Mayaro Road.

Arima Borough Corporation (ABC)

Inclement weather reports from the ABC associated with Tropical Wave 17

Within the Borough, wind gusts up to 60 KM/H were recorded. There were six reports of fallen trees or poles and six reports of roof damage within this region.

San Juan/Lavantille Regional Corporation (SJLRC)

Inclement weather reports from the SJLRC associated with Tropical Wave 17

Within this region, there were four reports of fallen trees or utility poles, two reports of roof damage, a report of a collapsed home, as well as four reports of flooding, and a report of a landslide.

Along Lavantille Road, San Juan, a tree fell onto a home, completely destroying the structure.

Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation (CTTRC)

Inclement weather reports from the CTTRC associated with Tropical Wave 17

There were seven reports of fallen trees or poles within this regional corporation, three reports of roof damage, and one report of a landslide.

The Trinidad and Tobago Guardian received reports of fallen trees and roof damage in Sum Sum Hill and Hermitage Road, Claxton Bay and Caratal Road, and Bonne Aventure, Gasparillo.

CTTRC Chairman Henry Awong confirmed the corporation received eight reports of property damage at Caratal Road, Claxton Bay, Chin Chin Road, Cunupia, and Welcome South and a house at Mundo Nuevo Road, Talparo, spilling down a landslip.

Siparia Regional Corporation (SRC)

Inclement weather reports from the SRC associated with Tropical Wave 17

There were two reports of fallen trees or utility poles in this region, with six reports of damaged roofs and two collapsed structures. One of these fallen trees blocked the Southern Main Road at Vessigny, temporarily rending the roadway impassable. However, much of the severe damage remained confined near the coast, in La Brea, and Quarry Village, Siparia.

Catherine George’s home was destroyed during strong winds and heavy rain at Queen Street, La Brea. (Ivan Toolsie/Guardian Media Limited)

Along Queen’s Street, La Brea, Catherine George’s home was destroyed, as reported by the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. The paper also reported another nearby home losing its roof to the strong winds, with one person receiving minor cuts and bruises. SRC chairman Denish Sankarsingh said several houses were damaged.

The Trinidad and Tobago Newsday also reported one damaged home beyond repair at Sand Pitt Road, Quarry Village, Siparia.

Port of Spain City Corporation (POSCC)

Inclement weather reports from the POSCC associated with Tropical Wave 17

Within the capital, there were five reports of fallen trees or poles, one report of roof damage, and one landslide report.

Chaguanas Borough Corporation (CBC)

Inclement weather reports from the CBC associated with Tropical Wave 17
Inclement weather reports from the CBC associated with Tropical Wave 17

Within this Borough, there were three reports of roof damage resulting from damaging winds. Peak wind gusts in the region were as high as 55 KM/H.

Penal/Debe Regional Corporation

Inclement weather reports from the PDRC associated with Tropical Wave 17
Inclement weather reports from the PDRC associated with Tropical Wave 17

Social media videos captured trees falling as gusty winds affected this area, but no homes were reported damaged within the Corporation.

Street flooding was reported along the S.S. Erin Road in Debe, and flash flooding occurred on the Golconda Connector Road near VMCOTT.

Princes Town Regional Corporation

Inclement weather reports from the TPRC associated with Tropical Wave 17
Inclement weather reports from the TPRC associated with Tropical Wave 17

There was one report of roof damage within the Princes Town area, one report of flooding, and one report of a landslide.

According to Trinidad and Tobago Newsday, the landslide at Cipero Road, Borde Narve Village in Princes Town, has formed a pensioner to flee his home with nearby neighbors worrying about their own property.

Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA)

In Tobago, wind gusts up to 60 KM/H were recorded. There were two adverse weather reports – a fallen tree at Silk Cotton Trace, Bon Accord, which took down utility lines and disrupted electricity supply, and a minor landslide at Des Vignes Road, partially blocking the roadway.

According to TEMA, a fiber break between Sangre Grande and Toco resulted in an island-wide Digicel outage for Tobago.

Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation

Inclement weather reports from the MRCRC associated with Tropical Wave 17
Inclement weather reports from the MRCRC associated with Tropical Wave 17

Though gusty winds did move across the region, fallen trees were only reported along the Manzanilla-Mayaro Road, which motorists quickly cleared.

Which areas weren’t affected?

From local media, the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government and reports submitted to us, there were no reports of wind damage, flooding, landslides, or any other adverse weather activity within the Diego Martin Regional Corporation, the Point Fortin Borough Corporation, and the San Fernando City Corporation. Though no adverse weather impacts, these areas did experience heavy rainfall and gusty winds on Thursday.

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