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Flood ride: A resident of Rochard Douglas Road, Barrackpore, takes a ride through flood waters yesterday after heavy rains on Saturday left part of the village under water. -Photo: DAVE PERSAD
A small twister yesterday enthralled residents of East and Central Trinidad for more than 20 minutes as it appeared and disappeared among heavy dark clouds.
Visible from Macoya in the East to Cunupia in Central Trinidad, eyewitnesses claimed the funnel-shaped twister did not make contact with the ground but kept nearby homeowners worried about any resulting structural damage to their property.
Declan Littrean,39, spotted the twister from his home in Macoya. He said he just walked onto his patio when he spotted the twister "perfectly formed and about the size of a matchstick". By the time he got his camera phone and returned it had grown to the width of a pencil and maintained that size until it eventually dissipated five to seven minutes later, he explained.
" We called out to the neighbours and everybody gathered around to look at it. It was the first time I've ever seen anything like it," Littrean marvelled.
Littrean said Macoya was experiencing strange weather yesterday.
"The sun was really hot right before midday and then it was suddenly overcast. We saw the twister and then the place cooled considerably and a really cold rain fell soon afterwards," he said.
George Mendoza, 50, also experienced the natural phenomenon. Mendoza said he was driving from his home in Cunupia to a nearby hardware in Warrenville, a small village just north of Cunupia, when he spotted a line of people on both sides of the street, all looking up.
"My first thought was that it looked like a strange cone cloud and I thought 'clouds don't look like that'. Then it started to move, so I pulled out my phone and filmed it," Mendoza related.
A meteorologist at the Met Office in Piarco explained that most twisters usually occurred around midday during overcast conditions, but only if no rain has fallen.
"Twisters occur when there are high temperatures, very light winds and a moist atmosphere. If rain falls before, it will lower the temperature and change the conditions. Twisters usually form on or before midday as that is when temperatures are highest. Rain will fall soon after the twister has formed and dissipated," he explained.
Both the Meteorological Office in Piarco and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) in Tacarigua said they received calls yesterday regarding the weather phenomenon, but both said there were no reports of any damage caused by the event.