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T&T braces for huge waves this weekend (with CNC3 video)
People going to fish, swim or surf this weekend are being urged to be cautious because of the hazardous conditions expected along the coastline in the coming days.
On Wednesday the US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) issued a warning that an Atlantic gale was set to result in large waves in local waters, some reaching 20 feet high. It also said individual waves up to twice that height could possibly be seen. Reports earlier this week also said that by tomorrow, these massive waves could reach a height of an estimated five to seven feet every 18 seconds.
Yesterday afternoon, the Meteorological Office issued a rough seas bulletin which warned that wave heights of over 2.5 metres were expected by late tomorrow. The release described expected conditions as hazardous and added that Tobago is expected to experience the effects before Trinidad. It said these swells are forecast to produce “large battering waves near and onshore” and urged all those engaging in sea-related activities to be on the alert.
In a brief telephone interview, CEO of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) Dr Stephen Ramroop said all the first-responder agencies had been alerted to the huge waves expected this weekend, and all necessary plans had been put in place to ensure the safety of members of the public.
Public Relations Officer of the T&T Coast Guard Lt Commander Kirk Jean-Baptiste told the T&T Guardian yesterday that while the Coast Guard was prepared to carry out search-and-rescue operations if necessary, fishermen and beachgoers should follow instructions and remain alert.
Jean-Baptiste said members of the public were being advised to reschedule any plans for recreational fishing trips or visits to the beach. Similarly, he said, fishing villages, fishermen and boat owners were being told to secure boats on land or at a sheltered bay. He said: “When forces of nature speak and you are given advice, you must listen. It is safer to stay away from the situation than to be in it.”
Lifeguard supervisor at the Ministry of Tourism's lifeguard service Lennox Dwarika said while there is need to alert the public to possible danger at sea, people should not be too alarmed by the warnings. Dwarika advised those headed for the beaches in the coming week to “be a little more vigilant and to pay close attention to children.” He said lifeguards will be on duty as normal during the weekend at Maracas, Las Cuevas, Toco, Salybia, Manzanilla, Mayaro, Quinam and Vessigny.
When contacted yesterday, president of the Felicity/Charlieville Fishing Association David Bachan said the Ministry of Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs had said warnings should be issued to fishermen. Bachan, who is also the assistant secretary of the T&T Unified Fisher Folk, said fishermen were being told to be very careful if they chose to venture out to sea.
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