The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service (TTMS) is forecasting heavy rainfall and gusty winds from Tuesday night into Wednesday morning across Trinidad and Tobago and the Windward Islands due to the approach of a strong tropical wave in the Atlantic.
As of 8:00 AM, the tropical wave was located in the central Atlantic near 40/41°W latitude, south of 16°N longitude, moving west at 28 kilometres per hour. According to the TTMS, there is a weak cyclonic circulation along the wave axis near 8°N, 41°W. During the last several hours, convection (showers and thunderstorms) have increased, and environmental conditions appear conducive to tropical development. A tropical depression will likely form during the early to the middle part of next week.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), the system is forecast to continue on a westward track over the tropical Atlantic, approaching the Windward Islands on Tuesday and then moving across the south-eastern Caribbean Sea on Wednesday and Thursday. In their 8:00 AM Tropical Weather Outlook on Sunday, the NHC gave the tropical wave (also called INVEST 94L, a tropical disturbance), a medium chance of development over the next 48 hours, at 40 per cent, and a high chance of development over the next five days at 70 per cent. Interests in the Windward Islands should closely monitor the progress of this system.
The Met Office notes that Regardless of intensification or development of the system, significant moisture, and peripheral instability will bring heavy rainfall and gusty winds to Trinidad and Tobago and the Windward Islands from Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
There are no tropical cyclone watches or warnings in effect at this time for Trinidad and Tobago. The Met Office will issue another update on INVEST 94L at 6:00 PM today (Sunday, June 26, 2022).
T&T Under Adverse Weather Alert
Meanwhile, another active tropical wave is moving across the Lesser Antilles, prompting the Met Office to issue an Adverse Weather Alert (Yellow Level) for Trinidad and Tobago until 10:00 AM Monday, June 27, 2022. The alert went into effect at 8:00 AM Sunday, June 26, 2022.
According to the TTMS, “An intense area of instability and moisture is ahead of the axis of an approaching tropical wave. This will affect the islands with cloudy skies, prolonged periods of rainfall, and occasional thunderstorms, which can result in rainfall accumulation in excess of 25mm and gusty winds in excess of 55 km/h. Possible impacts include street flooding, which can cause minor traffic disruptions. Ponding is possible in low-lying areas. Loose items can become displaced by strong winds. Electrical discharges are possible during thunderstorms. Note as well, low-lying coastal areas may have slower runoff during high tide due to the occurrence of Spring Tides.”
They advise the public to “secure loose outdoor items and livestock. Avoid wading or driving through residual flood water. Exercise caution in near low-lying and coastal areas, especially during high tide. Continue to monitor official sources for information.”
ODPM: Prepare For Adverse Weather Conditions
The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) is also advising the nation to prepare for adverse weather conditions due to both INVEST 94L which will traverse the area later this week, and the other tropical wave that is moving across T&T on Sunday.
According to the ODPM, “Combined, these systems have the potential to produce heavy rainfall and gusty winds to Trinidad and Tobago, resulting in street/flash flooding, residential flooding and landslides, compounded by saturated soil. Ponding is possible in low-lying areas. Unsecured items may become displaced by strong winds, while electrical discharges are also possible during thunderstorms.”
There are coordinated efforts between the Ministries of Rural Development and Local Government, National Security and Works and Transport, along with the Office of the Prime Minister and the Office of the Prime Minister - Communications, to continuously monitor and cohesively respond to any occurrences due to the current and predicted weather forecast. The ODPM has alerted the Disaster Management Units (DMUs) of the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government, the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), and the other first response agencies. These agencies have activated their emergency plans and stand ready to coordinate response as the need arises. The Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force is also on alert.
They add that in the event Emergency Shelters are required, the Disaster Management Units will open these strategically, to provide alternative shelter for the vulnerable should it become necessary.
In a media release, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the ODPM, Major General (Retired) Rodney Smart, is appealing to the public to put measures in place to prepare for the passage of both weather systems and to continue to prepare for the Wet and Hurricane Seasons.