On Monday night, gusty winds moved across parts of Northern and Central Trinidad, triggering power dips and outages across the East-West Corridor and downing a tree on the home of a policeman.
Power outages were reported in Piarco, Arima and Caroni with dips reported in Valsayn and Bamboo. According to a T&TEC official, these interruptions were weather-related.
At 9:30 PM, a police officer, who had 23 years of service, was crushed to death due to a falling tree at Mt. D’Or.
According to reports, Corporal Joseph Jones was at his wooden home at Upper Spring Valley when a large tree fell on the house.
On hearing the crashing sound, Jones’ nephews ran to his aid but saw him lying motionless, trapped under a large branch.
Jones’ body was viewed by the District Medical Officer who pronounced him dead at 12:10 AM.
Fire and police officers of the St Joseph stations responded. Jones was last attached to the Port of Spain Police Division.
What caused the gusty winds?
As forecast, breezy conditions prevailed across Trinidad and Tobago due to the influence of a high-pressure system in the North Atlantic. Stronger winds also existed at higher altitudes – an important detail for the gusty winds on Monday night.
Due to elevated moisture, showers and cloudiness began to move across the islands by late Monday with intermittent showers that persisted into Tuesday. These showers typically brought gusty winds ahead of precipitation due to rainfall mixing the stronger winds higher in our atmosphere down to the surface.
Wind gusts on Monday generally remained below 45 KM/H, which is not unusual for the island. However, with larger and weaker trees, there is the increased chance for toppling and downing.
Generally, with winds of that strength, large branches of trees will move, with whistling heard in overhead wires. Umbrellas and tents may be difficult to control and small potted plants may be blown over.
Fatalities, even injuries, resulting from severe weather are rare in Trinidad and Tobago. However, it serves as an unfortunate reminder that we need to prepare our homes and surroundings for gusty winds and flooding that become the norm during the Wet Season.