Farmers welcome thundershowers

Thun­der­show­ers drenched most of T&T on Sunday fol­low­ing a scorch­ing dry sea­son, bring­ing gusty winds which top­pled trees and broke branch­es in North Trinidad.

But by mid­day, the T&T Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Of­fice can­celled its ad­verse weath­er alert from yel­low to green say­ing weath­er con­di­tions had im­proved sig­nif­i­cant­ly al­though a few show­ers were still ex­pect­ed to linger in­to the night.

There were no re­ports of any ma­jor dam­age or flood­ing.

In South Trinidad, the rains start­ed around 7 am and last­ed well af­ter mid­day.

Strong winds brought on by the pas­sage of an In­ter-Trop­i­cal Con­ver­gence Zone (ITCZ) top­pled a tree and parts of an un­fin­ished build­ing in Mount Hope and Diego Mar­tin.

Dar­ryl Fer­nan­dez post­ed a three-minute video to his Face­book pro­file, show­ing a tree that had fall­en on his Mount Hope home.

“I just want to see what it takes for the Gov­ern­ment to as­sist me. For the longest while I’ve been ask­ing the coun­cil­lor, the re­gion­al cor­po­ra­tion and T&TEC to come and cut this tree which falls from on that side (of the road) on my house,” Fer­nan­dez said in the video.

The fall­en tree smashed in­to his chil­dren’s bed­room around 2.30 am.

“I could have been a fa­ther cry­ing this morn­ing, this is right where my chil­dren’s bed­room is, look at how dan­ger­ous this is,” he said.

As he showed the ex­tent of the dam­ages, Fer­nan­dez lament­ed that he has been try­ing to get some­one to cut the tree for sev­er­al months af­ter see­ing cracks ap­pear­ing in its trunk.

T&TEC’s Cor­po­rate Com­mu­ni­ca­tion man­ag­er An­abelle Bras­nell did not re­spond to a call seek­ing com­ment.

High winds in Diego Mar­tin caused parts of an un­fin­ished con­crete struc­ture to col­lapse in­to the street.

Pho­tos of the dam­age, show­ing red bricks scat­tered on the road­way were shared on so­cial me­dia yes­ter­day but there were no re­ports of any in­juries.

Mean­while, farm­ers who have been wait­ing for the rain to plant said they were con­cerned that more dry spells will con­tin­ue in June based on pre­dic­tions from the Met Of­fice.

Chair­man of the Pe­nal/Debe Re­gion­al Cor­po­ra­tion Dr Allen Sam­my who spoke to farm­ers from Bun­see Trace and Mendez Vil­lage said many of them had de­cid­ed not to plant as yet be­cause they were un­sure whether the dry spells were over.

“They are ex­treme­ly pleased to see the rains be­cause many of them had lost acres of crops, par­tic­u­lar­ly in Bun­see Trace. Acres of pep­per and bo­di, let­tuce, cu­cum­ber have wilt­ed in the heat so the rain is a bless­ing but no­body is go­ing to re­plant at this time be­cause the dry weath­er is like­ly to stretch in­to June,” he said.

He not­ed that some farm­ers were brac­ing for flood­ing be­cause not all of the wa­ter­cours­es were cleared.

“Parts of the Oropouche Riv­er still needs clean­ing along with the Cu­ru­ma­ta Riv­er which joins the Orop­uche Riv­er at Debe Trace,” Sam­my said.

Mean­while, Agri­cul­tur­al So­ci­ety pres­i­dent Dhano Sookoo said while farm­ers wel­comed the rain they were now brac­ing for floods.

“We are very mind­ful that no prop­er struc­ture was put in place to cap­ture the ex­cess wa­ter from the wet sea­son so that it could be utilised in the dry sea­son. We are al­so wor­ried about the risk of flood­ing,” she added.

Sookoo said while the Min­istry of Works has done work to clear wa­ter cours­es in Aranguez, Mal­oney, Or­ange Grove and Tabaquite, it was not enough to mit­i­gate flood­ing.

In a weath­er fore­cast is­sued at 4.22 pm yes­ter­day, me­te­o­rol­o­gist Al­bert Alexan­der said there was a 20 per cent to 30 per cent chance that some of the show­ers could be­come heavy with gusty winds.

Reporter: Radhica De Silva and Sharlene Rampersad