(FP)

Barbados is currently under a severe flash flood and thunderstorm warning as the first of two tropical waves begin to affect the island.

And, residents are again being cautioned to prepare for any type of weather event, and to monitor official channels for weather updates throughout the day.

Director of the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), Kerry Hinds, is reminding persons that being prepared ahead of time was key in the response and recovery phases.

She made these remarks as the Barbados Meteorological Services (MET Office) issued the warnings at 5:00 a.m. today as the island began to feel the effects of the first weather system.

In the case of the flash flood warning, weather officials warned of the possibility of rapid flooding due to excess rainfall in a short period of time.  They are also warning residents to be aware of significant lightning activity.

Meanwhile, the MET Office also stated that regardless of its development, the second tropical wave has the potential to produce heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and gusty winds across Barbados and the southern Windward Islands by Friday (July 2) afternoon.

With this in mind, the DEM Director reminded persons that weather systems are unpredictable, as they could either strengthen, weaken or dissipate at short notice.

“The key therefore is to be prepared at all times.  By now, persons should have started stocking up on their canned items and other supplies. They should also seek to reinforce their homes to increase their resilience against potential damage, should one of the systems impact the country,” she said.

Ms. Hinds further stressed that how persons prepared for the hurricane season, would determine their ability to recover from an impact.

She implored persons to not only secure their homes and carry out mitigation work around them and in their neighbourhoods to reduce the potential for flooding, but to also insure their homes and properties.

“There is nothing worse than seeing the roof of your home and all your possessions destroyed by a storm or hurricane, and not having the means to replace them. Please insure your homes and businesses,” she urged.

Ms. Hinds stressed that in the event of an emergency, residents should contact the Royal Barbados Police Force at 211; the Barbados Fire Service at 311, and the Barbados Ambulance Service at 511.

To report any damage in the wake of an event, persons may call the DEM at 438-7575, so a record of the report could be made and the relevant response agencies activated to provide assistance, if necessary.

In addition, persons may also find the list of hurricane shelters on the DEM’s website or the Barbados Government Information Service website.

The Director also encouraged persons to download the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) app on their Android and Apple devices to stay abreast of the updates.

Alternatively, they may download the BMS app – BMS Insight – to receive updates on systems likely to affect the island.  This app is only available on Android devices at this time.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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