Tropical Storm Gonzalo downed a tree in Cumana, in the vicinity of the Toco Main Road, resulting in the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation’s Disaster Management Unit having the clear the roadway. This also damaged one home. (Ministry of Rural Development & Local Government)
Tropical Storm Gonzalo moved across Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday 25th July 2020 as a borderline Tropical Storm. While no tropical storm warning was in effect for Trinidad, Gonzalo triggered an Adverse Weather Alert (Orange Level) for the island while a Tropical Storm Warning (Orange Level) was in effect for Tobago.
This weak and disorganized tropical storm brought intense but brief showers across Trinidad and Tobago between 7:00 AM and 11:00 AM across both islands, with a mostly overcast day thereafter. Still, there were localized reports of street flooding along the East-West Corridor in Trinidad and sporadic reports of wind damage across both islands.
Tropical Storm Gonzalo Rainfall
Model guidance on Tropical Storm Gonzalo was poor. Only until the 11th hour, models took Gonzalo’s track across Trinidad. Prior to Saturday morning’s 06Z guidance, all indications pointed to a west-northwest track. This meant that the worst of Gonzalo was forecast to remain north of T&T.
Even then, rainfall accumulations across T&T was forecast to be between 25-75 millimeters, with isolated totals in excess of 150 millimeters possible. This did not materialize.
With the 2-3 hours of rainfall reported, much of Trinidad saw accumulations less than 25 millimeters, while across Tobago, less than 50 millimeters were recorded.
Tropical Storm Gonzalo Winds
Although the eventual track took the center of Gonzalo across the northern half of Trinidad, much of the strongest winds were forecast to affect Tobago and remain offshore Trinidad. Because there was not a significant threat of tropical-storm-force winds for Trinidad, a tropical storm warning was not issued for the island but maintained for Tobago.
In fact, the NHC’s discussion at 5:00 AM did state that, “The surface circulation, however, was still poorly defined, and barely closed. Based on the reconnaissance observations, the initial intensity is held at 35 knots (Editor’s Note: 65 KM/H) for this advisory.”
The discussion at 11:00 AM even alluded to the fact that Gonzalo appeared more like a tropical wave than a tropical cyclone, “Gonzalo is looking very ragged, with a cloud field that more resembles a tropical squall than a tropical storm.”
Gonzalo was declared a remnant low-pressure system at 5:00 PM, as scatterometer data showed a well-defined tropical wave with winds near 30 knots (55 KM/H) and higher gusts.
Across Trinidad and Tobago, winds generally remained below 30 KM/H with gusts to 45 KM/H. Across Grenada, sustained winds peaked at 43 KM/H and gusts between 65-75 KM/H. Localized wind damage was reported across both islands.
Gonzalo’s Impacts Across T&T
There were only two reports of wind damage across Tobago, with 19 people total in shelters.
A bus shed roof was blown off in Argyle, Tobago just after 10:00 AM.
The other report was a tree fallen on the Les Couteaux Health Center, damaging the roof and plumbing of the building.
By Saturday afternoon, the TEMA Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) cleared the tree of the building.
There were four reports of wind damage across the Rio Claro/Mayaro Regional Corporation’s area of responsibility.
A roof was blown off at Kernahan Trace in Mayaro. A roof was partially blown off at Guppy Hill Trace, Union Village, Rio Claro.
There were also two reports of fallen trees, one at the Central Branch Road, Rio Claro and another and Old Railway Road, Rio Claro.
This is where the purported center of Tropical Storm Gonzalo tracked across. The only report of wind damage occurred near the Toco Main Road in Cumana. A fallen breadfruit tree blocked the roadway, resulting in the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation’s Disaster Management Unit having the clear the roadway. This also damaged one home.
There were two reports of wind damage, and three reports of street flooding in this area of Trinidad.
Street flooding was reported along the Eastern Main Road in Barataria, Mount Lambert in San Juan and along Wrightson Road in Port of Spain.
The Diego Martin Regional Corporation Disaster Management Reponse Team also responded to a fallen tree that damaged a roof at Factory Road, Diego Martin.
In addition, a tree fell on a home at Trou Macaque in Lavantille.
Elsewhere Across Trinidad
While heavy rainfall did move across the remainder of the island on Saturday, there were no reported impacts from Tropical Storm Gonzalo.