Rio Claro begins to feel effects of potential Tropical Storm

Government agencies said they are prepared for any emergency arising out of the tropic storm forecasted to hit T&T tonight.

A forecaster at the Meteorological Service said the Tropical Storm Warning remained in effect for T&T, Grenada and its dependencies.

He said the forward edge of the system was already reaching rural areas in East Trinidad such as Rio Claro shortly after midday.  

The forecaster said the system was moving forward at a fast rate and can affect the islands between 8 pm and 2 am. 

The weather system was not named because it is a potential tropical cyclone. 

In an yesterday, Kenny Gopaul deputy chief fire officer said the Fire Service has activated an emergency plan and cancelled leave for officers and the Auxiliary officers were on stand by. 

"Office personnel are on operational duty. We want the public to access the shelters (in emergencies) and keep in contact with a friend or relative during the event," he said.

Gopaul said Government schools, fire stations and community centres were being used shelters in the event of emergencies. 

He said citizens should have a plan, secure all loose items outside the home, store drinking water and medicines.  

Gopaul said citizens can access Fire Service by calling 990 or 999 for assistance.

Health and safety officer of the lifeguard branch of the National Union of Government & Federated Workers, Augustus Sylvester said fishermen were outside on the beach preparing for the storm. 

Sylvester who was based at Las Cuevas said beach-goers were scarce at the beach yesterday.

He said there were 12 lifeguards at the nine of the nation's beaches. 

"The water is calm and things are normal and the fishermen were pulling out their boats and bringing them on the land and tying them down," he said. 

Sylvester said the water at the beach was calm and inviting. 

"You know the calm the before the storm...we (lifeguards) are out and with the overcast sky there is hardly people on the beach except fishermen. We just waiting to hear via the radio and listening to the news," he said.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said staff at the various hospitals were prepared for the storm.

"Of course they are, always and staff at the Accident and Emergency staff are fully prepared and equipped," he said.

Education Minister Anthony Garcia said the ministry will be keeping updates on the event. 

"It is a bit early to make a decision about the closure of schools at this time. While the main concern of the Ministry of Education will always be the safety of the school population, we will be guided by the Meteorological Office.

"A release will be made once the necessity arises. Unless otherwise advised school goes on as usual," he said.

In Tobago, Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles announced the closure of all school and non-essential service offered by the Tobago House of Assembly. Emergency shelters were open from 8 pm and residents were urged to find alternative shelter if they believe they may be in danger.

ODPM advised:

Pack an emergency kit for your entire family including non-perishable food, potable water, first aid supplies, flash light, battery-operated radio, extra batteries, et cetera.
•Ensure that preparations are made for persons with special needs and pets.
•Secure all important documents in a waterproof bag.
•If you live in a flood-prone area, place furniture and appliances on a height from the ground and keep sand-bags easily accessible.
•Develop a family emergency and evacuation plan.
•Ensure that lawn furniture and loose outdoor items are properly tied down or brought inside.
•After heavy rainfall, stay inside until water levels subside and venture outside only when it is confirmed safe.
•Do not walk / drive through flood waters and avoid areas that experience high impact flooding.
•Be cautious and vigilant when walking /driving along hillsides or landslide prone areas.

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