2861999
FREAK POINT STORM

RADHICA DE SILVA

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Market vendors ran for cover when gusty winds blew down their tents as they sold their weekly produce in Point Fortin yesterday.

Vendor Geeta Ramroop said the winds came suddenly just before 1 pm and people started to scream and run when the tents started to lift off.

“We had about 50 people selling under the tents. Market was still going on. The weather started to get bad but we didn’t expect to see something like this,” Ramroop said.

She added, “There were thunder and lightning. The rain started coming down. Then afterwards the breeze started to blow in a different way. The trees started to bend and then the tents started to lift off. The tents tumbled over and people just left their goods and started to run.”

Ramroop explained that it was impossible to go on the road because the tents were strewn about while the area near the trees looked dangerous because of the sweeping branches.

“Most people head down to the toilet area where they had shelter. The rain didn’t fall for long just about 15 mins. The breeze came fast and it cleared up just as quick as it came,” she recalled.

During an interview, CNC3’s weather anchor and geoscientist Kalain Hosein said yesterday’s inclement weather resulted from a combination of atmospheric features.

“These included the passage of a tropical wave, strong daytime heating, sea breeze convergence, and a favourable upper-level atmosphere,” Hosein said.

He added, “After a mostly hot and sunny morning, the high temperatures (daytime heating) and the collision of sea breezes from the west with prevailing winds from the northeast allowed for the rapid development of showers and thunderstorms.”

Hosein said the heavy rainfall and gusty winds mainly occurred along western coastal Trinidad, where convergence was at its strongest.

“These gusty winds are typical for stronger thunderstorms which can take down trees and cause damage to weaker structures,” he said.