TOBAGO is under a tropical storm threat.
This means the sister island could experience sustained winds of at least 63 kilometres per hour in 48 hours, the T&T Meteorological Service said yesterday evening.
In an update, the Met Service said at 5 p.m. yesterday, Tropical Storm Gonzalo was located near latitude 9.7 N, longitude 48.8 W or about 1305 km east of the Southern Windwards.
Gonzalo continues to move westward near 20 km/h but a west-north-westward motion is expected through the weekend.
On the current forecast track, the centre of Gonzalo will approach the southern Windwards tonight and move across the Windward islands tomorrow.
Gonzalo is a very small tropical storm with tropical storm-force winds extending outward up to only 35km from the centre.
“Latest analyses suggest that Trinidad will not be directly impacted by Gonzalo, however heavy showers and thunderstorms are expected as the system passes north of the island,” the Met Service said.
An emergency meeting with members of the Tobago Disaster Management Committee (TDMC) chaired by Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis was held yesterday at the Tobago Emergency Operations Centre in Bacolet to discuss preparations for Gonzalo.
“Present at the meeting were officials of the Ministry of National Security, Defence Force, Coast Guard, Fire Service, discussing the response,” Tobago Emergency Management Agency director Allan Stewart said.
He said shelters will be activated today with the necessary social distancing and Covid-19 protocols.
“By just after midday the shelter listing will be available to members of the public,” Stewart said.
A number of steps were taken following the emergency meeting.
“The Tobago Emergency Operations Centre (TEOC) will be activated today at 6 p.m. Shelters to be opened during the storm period will be identified, and the respective shelter managers notified. Shelters will be activated as the need arises. Covid-19 restrictions will be in place at the TEOC and the Emergency Shelters,” a statement following the meeting said.
Speaking on the issue at the THA’s weekly media briefing on Wednesday, Chief Secretary Dennis said he continued to be in touch with TEMA and the island remains on alert.
The Inter-Island Ferry Service said captains of all vessels were monitoring the situation with the tropical storm and will announce by midday today if there will be any need for changes in scheduled sailings.