Heavy rains pound Jamaica
MANY HOMES were flooded yesterday as some sections of the island experienced up to four millimetres of rainfall. The Meteorological Service issued a flash-flood watch for the low-lying and flood-prone areas of all parishes yesterday.
The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) said yesterday that a national response team had been put on alert to assist affected persons.
Michelle Edwards, director of litigation planning and research at the ODPEM, said the agency was ready to assist all persons faced with difficulties due to the recent rainfalls. She said the ODPEM team was on high alert.
On Friday, 15 homes were flooded in New Haven, St Andrew. In response, the ODPEM opened the Edith Dalton High School as a shelter for displaced individuals and families requiring accommodation. There have also been reports of flooding in Callaloo Mews and Patrick City, as well as fallen trees in the Portmore area.
The ODPEM also urged residents to leave low-lying and flood-prone areas if they were threatened by rising waters. It has also warned individuals to avoid flooded waterways, such as gullies, fordings, rivers and streams.
The rains currently affecting the island have been triggered by a trough, which is expected to remain until Sunday.
Troughs are elongated areas of relatively low atmospheric pressure that cause precipitation. They are a regular part of the weather pattern in the Caribbean.
- … Ravage St Catherine roads
Rasbert Turner, Gleaner Writer
Heavy rains that pelted the island yesterday left several roads in St Catherine impassable, as some communities in the southern parish were transformed into mini-lakes, partly because of poor drainage.
Thoroughfares, such as Old Harbour Road and Salt Pond Road, about 100 metres from Jonathan Grant High School, were also affected by flooding, as commuters travelling to and from Greater Portmore and Dunbeholden were forced to find alternative routes.
Sections of Friendship Meadows, Hill Run, Ensom City and Hartlands were also inundated, as residents struggled to save furniture as flood waters scoured the communities.
Checks made at the Spanish Town Hospital found personnel using water boots and raincoats while performing their duties.
Meanwhile, Patricia Lewis, parish disaster coordinator for St Catherine, said there were no flood-related fatalities.
She said the parish disaster committee was on high alert should their support system need to be activated.
"The team is ready to assist in case it becomes necessary, but for right now, there is no reported loss of life, so we are thankful," Lewis said.
The police have advised motorists to traverse the Bog Walk gorge with caution, as falling boulders pose danger to the key corridor, which links the capital with resort towns in St Mary, St Ann and St James.