No major floods despite heavy rains
Jermaine Francis and Gareth Davis, Gleaner Writers
Jamaica was yesterday drenched by rains produced by a weather system and could experience more of the same today.
The Meteorological Service said a trough which brought the rains was expected to remain in the Jamaica area until today before moving towards the western Caribbean tomorrow.
But even with the heavy downpour, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) said it had not received any reports of major flooding or landslides.
"We have not activated our shelters or anything just yet. We are basically reminding persons to be alert and monitor the conditions." said Information Officer Orlene Edwards.
Schools remain open
Meanwhile, the education ministry said it was monitoring the situation but no decision to close schools today had been made.
Chief Education Officer Grace McLean reported that the ministry did not get any directives from ODPEM to close schools; therefore, schools were expected to be open today.
Checks with regional offices of the ministry up to late yesterday revealed that there were no reports of schools being affected, and education officers were in the field monitoring the situation.
In Portland, major drain-cleaning work undertaken by the Portland Parish Council had prevented flooding up to press time last night.
Disaster Coordinator Denise Lewis told The Gleaner that torrential rainfall was experienced by residents in just about every community in the parish.
Lewis added: "I have not received any report of flooding. However, we are keeping a close watch on some low-lying and flood-prone areas, including Berrydale, Manning Avenue, East Palm Avenue, Folly, Breastworks, Boundbrook, and West Street."
And mayor of Port Antonio, Benny White, who spoke to The Gleaner briefly, boasted that ongoing drain cleaning by a parish council crew has reduced the likelihood of flooding in some vulnerable communities.
"Since we have implemented a continuous drain cleaning and maintenance programme, residents of Manning Avenue, Janga Gully, Boundbrook Crescent, Long Wall, Rice Peas, and Folly can sleep well at night, as flooding in those areas is a thing of the past," he said.