The parishes of St Lucy and St Philip have felt the brunt of the more than 75 millimetres of rain dumped on the island over a 48-hour period, that has kept the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) and employees of the Ministry of Transport and Works on their toes.
But while the steady downpours disrupted numerous public works projects across the island, Minister of Transport and Works Ian Gooding-Edghill said millions of dollars in drainage work done earlier this year had reduced incidents of serious flooding.
He said on Thursday afternoon that while there were no significant reports of flooding in Speightstown, St Peter, which often feels the impact of heavy rains, “based on our reports it would appear as though St Lucy would have taken a significant take of rainfall and the teams are on the ground”.
“There is flooding between Coconut Hall and Bishops in St Lucy, and we have a team on the ground responding to those situations,” he said.
Localised flooding was also reported near Forde’s Road, Gemswick, Marchfield, and Six Roads in the eastern parish of St Philip.
Gooding-Edghill said workers from his Ministry had removed trees from roadways, and crews were on standby to respond to reports of flooding and other issues that came in from teams in the field.
While flooding in the usually flood-prone districts near Bridgetown, such as Murphy’s Pasture, has been significantly reduced, there was flooding at the Constitution River Terminal on Thursday, prompting pump teams to be deployed.
The sluice gate near Graeme Hall was also opened from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. to alleviate flooding in the St Lawrence area, and according to the Transport and Works Minister, it would be reopened overnight and into Friday morning.
“We have spent millions preparing for the hurricane season. We have also done it on a combined basis, including the Ministry of Transport and Works (MTW) and the private sector which has been involved in the preparation exercises.
“The Ministry has an agreement with the private sector for agreed rates for equipment rentals in the event that we need to mobilise equipment to do additional drainage works,” Gooding-Edghill disclosed.
The heavy rains on Wednesday and Thursday were brought on by an upper level diffluent pattern in association with a tropical wave, which forced the issuance of a flood warning by the Barbados Meteorological Services.
The DEM reiterated calls for citizens to exercise caution as they went about their business, and called on persons living in flood-prone areas to be vigilant. Director Kerry Hinds stressed that the most active part of the June 1-November 30 Atlantic hurricane season was still upon us, and stressed that the onus was on all citizens to prepare themselves for any eventuality.
Minister Gooding-Edghill, meanwhile, assured that the Government would continue to do its part by clearing gullies and watercourses as it has been doing, particularly in northern, western, central and southern parts of the island.
“Let me take this opportunity to ask plantation owners to assume greater responsibility and to ensure that their soil does not wash into the roadway, making it hazardous for motorists,” he said. ([email protected])