Although minimal damage was reported today as Hurricane Maria passed on the outskirts of Barbados, the island still experienced heavy rains, gusty winds and flooding in some areas.
While a number of communities were without electricity and water from the wee hours of this morning, the Department of Emergency Management announced that it would be business as usual.
The Barbados Met Office had earlier predicted three to five inches of rain, as the system passed to the northeast of the island.
When Barbados TODAY visited St Lawrence Gap on the south coast today, several businesses were closed due to the deteriorating conditions, some were open but were busy trying to keep water out, while visitors tried their best to remain dry.
Business owner Sharon Joseph-Burke of Xpress Rental and Pronto Food and Drinks told Barbados TODAY it was not unusual for her surroundings to flood whenever it rains, and today was no exception.
“In terms of the weather here in St Lawrence Gap, it has always been a problem to the right of us. There is always a whole set of water each time the rain falls, it’s really terrible. For the customers, they wouldn’t be able to get in and out of the establishment. I think that the Government should do something about it urgently. It’s a problem that has been going on for years,” Joseph-Burke said, adding that the flooding had severely affected business for the day.
“It affected business in a sense because people can’t get in and out as they would like because of the water. So I would go somewhere else too. They [authorities] are saying that nothing can be done. If they could send a tank to draw off the water that would be great, at least for starters,” said the business owner, who lost electricity during the Barbados TODAY visit, shutting off the ovens.
The water levels were also rising at a home near the establishment. However, no one was home at the time.
The storm also cut into the beach time of a British couple, who said they had left The City hoping for a relaxing day on the beach.
Unaware that a weather system was affecting the island, the couple, who preferred that their names were not published, said they were shocked to be caught in the bad weather.
“When we left Pebbles Beach it was dry, that’s why we came up here. We are now waiting on a ZR to get back to Pebbles Beach as soon as possible. It’s crazy up here. We are shocked,” they said.
Jay Fletcher, who is visiting from British Colombia in Canada, was a bit more brave, saying she was excited to be experiencing the less than friendly weather.
“I wanted to see what it’s like. It’s beautiful. I live in Canada, we are used to the rain like this [but] it’s warm water hitting on you [here] and, I kinda like it. I’m heading back to my room now and watch it from the window,” she said.
Maria has since strengthened to a dangerous category five storm and was bearing down on Dominica tonight.