(FP)

Heavy rainfall across Barbados and severe thunderstorms have prompted Director of the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), Kerry, Hinds, to appeal to residents to be careful.

The Barbados Meteorological Services (MET Office) issued a flash-flood warning at 10:00 a.m. today, and a severe thunderstorm warning at 4:00 p.m., as predictions anticipate maximum rainfall accumulations of 25 to 100 millimeters in heavy to violent showers across the island, with severe thunderstorms and lightning activity.

Noting that the ground was already saturated from previous rain events, the Director urged persons living in flood-prone areas to be vigilant and ensure that the wells and drains around their homes were cleared.

In situations where help may be required to remove debris and clear areas, Ms. Hinds reminded persons that they could reach out to a representative from their District Emergency Organisation or contact the DEM at 438-7575, for assistance.

She also urged motorists to avoid driving through flooded areas, and to be mindful of pedestrians and avoid splashing them.

Ms. Hinds also urged persons to be on the lookout for possible power outages resulting from lightning strikes on utility infrastructure.

The Director stressed that this was still the most active part of the hurricane season, and therefore, these type of weather events were to be expected.

“However, the onus is on everyone to be prepared and have their emergency supplies and their go bags close to hand in the event of an emergency,” she said.

The Barbados Meteorological Services issued a flash-flood warning earlier today, as the island felt the effects of a tropical wave, but later included a severe thunderstorm warning this evening. Both are expected to be discontinued at 6:00 p.m. or sooner if conditions warrant.

Acting Director of the MET Office, Sabu Best, warned residents and visitors that they should expect significant runoff from higher elevations; significant soil erosion; large water settlements on roads and fields; significant adjustments to water levels of existing water bodies (ponds etc.); and significant delays on traffic routes, with some roads possibly impassable.

In addition, they also placed persons on notice that they could expect large objects or debris from higher elevations becoming embedded within fast moving water flows and the possibility of significant flooding at the foot of hillsides and coastal roads.

In issuing the warnings, Mr. Best urged residents and visitors to monitor the situation closely via official updates from the BMS over the next few hours.  To do so, they may log on to the Barbados Meteorological Services’ website, the DEM’s website, or the social media pages for the two agencies; or download the CAP app from their mobile phones.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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