The Barbados Meteorological Service (BMS) on Wednesday urged residents and visitors across Barbados to brace for heavy rainfall over the next 24 hours and has issued a flood watch for the island.
In addition, a small craft advisory is in effect for above normal sea swells until 6 p.m. Thursday, October 1. This means that sea swells of between eight to 10 feet are affecting, or forecast to affect, the marine area within the next 36 hours. In addition, small craft operators and sea bathers are encouraged to avoid going into the water.
And, acting Director of the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), Kerry Hinds, is urging persons to heed the early warning and ensure that they put all necessary safety measures in place.
“Over the last few days, we would have seen some significant rainfall, some of which has resulted in flooding in some districts. And, with the impending weather, there is every possibility that there will be additional flooding in the same districts and new ones as well,” Hinds cautioned.
She urged those living in flood prone areas to have their “go bags” ready in the event that they may have to leave their homes for safety, and cautioned drivers against attempting to drive through rapidly rising flood waters, for their own safety.
“Remember, we are now in the most active part of the hurricane season and we must stay alert and have our disaster plans in place,” she stressed.
The acting Director added that all stakeholders, including her department, the District Emergency Organisations, and other emergency response agencies, were also on the alert and stood ready to assist anyone who may require assistance.
Hinds reminded persons who found themselves in difficulties to contact the emergency services, or the DEM at 438-7575, to report damage to their homes.
On Wednesday, acting Director of the BMS, Sabu Best, indicated that rainfall accumulations of between 100 to 150 mm of heavy showers are likely Thursday, October 1, with isolated higher amounts of 150 to 200 mm also possible.
He added: “Occasional showers and thunderstorms are set to return this afternoon well in advance of the main event tomorrow.”
“These showers will continue to keep the soils saturated and as a consequence, exacerbate the situation tomorrow,” he warned.
The acting director cautioned that the excessive amounts of rainfall accumulation could present “life threatening floods, particularly during the afternoon”.
In addition, he pointed out that a tropical wave, in conjunction with a “favourable upper level environment”, was expected to produce unsettled conditions across the island.
In issuing the flood watch, Best urged residents and visitors to monitor the situation closely via official updates from the BMS over the next 12 to 18 hours.
To do so, they may log on to the website of the Barbados Meteorological Service ; the website of the Department of Emergency Management; or the social media pages of the two agencies, or download the CAP app to their mobile phones.
Possible weather impacts include significant runoff from higher elevations; significant soil erosion on exposed or scarred land surfaces; large water settlements on roads and fields; and significant adjustments to water levels of existing water bodies such as ponds.
There may also be significant delays in traffic routes with some roads possibly being impassable; large objects or debris from higher elevations may also become embedded within fast moving water flows; and significant flooding at the foot of hillsides and coastal roads is also possible. BGIS