When it rains heavily in St Helena, the minutes matter.
From as early as 7.30 am on Thursday, the Caroni River and its main tributaries, particularly in El Carmen, were at peak capacity.
When Guardian Media arrived at 9.30 am, some residents teased the news team for the early arrival.
“The real thing ain’t start yet boy Akash, allyuh fellas come too soon.”
But too soon may be relative.
Fifteen minutes after that conversation, water started to cross the Caroni South Bank Road in El Carmen.
Then it began to make its way to the St Helena junction.
“That’s how it happens here, it starts in El Carmen, then it comes to Madras, Madras to Warren, then Warren to Frederick Settlement,” said resident Paul Phillip.
The side roads off the main road were the first to be hit. Along Ross Trace, water was at shin height and rising from as early as midday.
“Last time we didn’t leave but this time we’re getting out,” a young man told Guardian Media as he navigated through the murky water with his mother and their pet parrot.
The setting was the same at Constantine Road, an area infamous for flooding first in St Helena.
Standing comfortably in the slightly raised driveway of his two-storey home, Bharath Singh said people left from as early as Wednesday night.
“It does be terrible in here, real terrible, last time in a matter of an hour, we could see four feet of water, so a lot of people done pull out from this road, this morning plenty people move out from here, I have an upstairs home so I good.”
A few houses away on the main road though, Vijay Ramsaran was not so lucky. From even before midday, while Constantine Road and Ross Trace were still dry, a shallow layer of stagnant murky water surrounded his home.
“This water come up since six this morning,” Ramsaran said. He added: “Now I bracing for it reaching inside, most we could do is prepare the sandbags and hope it’s not that bad this time.”
Even during these interviews, the news team had to keep an eye on the company’s vehicle.
“Fellas,” a man said with a smile, “watch that car and how the water rising.”
Sound advice, as ever so often we had to leave the vehicle on drier ground as the flood waters crept through the community.
At around 3 pm near the St Helena Junction, a white Ford Ranger pulled up. Inside was Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan.
“I heard something on CNC3 about the Caroni River bursting its banks but that’s not true,” the minister said, motioning to his car radio.
Sinanan said it was the tributaries that were overflowing. He said he was heading to El Carmen to see what assistance was needed. He also reminded that these communities were low lying areas.