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TEMA director Allan Stewart

Tobagonians are being asked to brace for rough seas, heavy rains, landslides and flash flooding as Tropical storm Elsa is expected to pass just north of Trinidad and Tobago.

Director of the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) Allan Stewart said members of the Tobago Disaster Preparedness Committee met yesterday to look at the island’s ability to respond should there be the need for emergency response systems such as shelters and emergency clearing of fallen trees and utility lines.

Stewart said based on information from the Meteorological Office, the island is not currently under direct threat but at least 35 -50 mm of rainfall is expected. The island’s fishermen are also being asked to secure their interests.

“It is quite evident that we recognise the sea conditions are expected to deteriorate to the extent where we have taken action to ask fisherfolk to move their vessels to safety as based on the information we have, we can expect waves up to 3.5 metres.”

He said the effects of the tropical storm should be present from later on today and into tomorrow and is also likely to affect the interisland ferry sailings. He said while Tobago is expected to be spared the worst effects of Tropical Storm Elsa, people should use this opportunity to prepare.

“This is not the type of event that requires us to board up our windows, however, we ask people to do the necessary to prepare for the hurricane season in this particular event.”

According to Stewart, during the passage of the tropical system people should expect things like falling trees, inundated slopes, landslides and flash flooding in areas prone to undergo these incidences following heavy rainfall.

He said utility providers and the Division of Infrastructure Quarries and the Environment to be on standby to respond should the need arise. Emergency shelters will also be activated if necessary Stewart asked that persons stay tuned to local radio and television stations which will be used to update the public if the situation changes.