Residents across Barbados living in flood-prone areas are being urged to be vigilant tonight into tomorrow, as potential tropical cyclone number nine continues to affect the island.
That is the advice coming from the Barbados Meteorological Services, which is also warning of the possibility of a flood watch or warning being issued for the island as the situation develops.
During an update via zoom with the Barbados Government Information Service, Acting Director of the MET Office, Sabu Best, also indicated that there was little possibility of a storm watch or warning being issued for the island.
“There is nothing to panic about. Allow it [the system] to pass through. We should be good to go coming into tomorrow evening going into Thursday,” Mr. Best assured.
He added: “The main concern is the moderate to heavy showers that we are expecting into the course of the night in terms of localised flooding. The best advice we can give out right now is if you know you live in a flood prone area be vigilant tonight and into tomorrow.
“There are currently no flood watches or warnings for Barbados. There are [also] no storm watches or storm warnings for Barbados at this time…we don’t see that materialising at all, but there is still a possibility through tonight that there a flood watch or warning depending on the intensity of the showers as we go through the night.”
Mr. Best explained that the present forecast was for one to three inches of rainfall, with the possibility of isolated higher amounts with bursts of convection.
He further pointed out that monitoring stations across the island had already recorded close to an inch of rainfall in some areas.
The Acting Director also noted that while St. James and, in particular, Holetown, were of concern given their propensity to flood, it was important for residents to be careful moving in and out of their homes over the next few hours as the system passed the island.
He further urged them to avoid areas that were unfamiliar to them, particularly as it relates to the likelihood of flooding.
He explained that occasional moderate to heavy showers with some thunder storms were expected from the system into tonight and to a lesser extent into tomorrow, Wednesday, July 29.
The Met Office official also reminded mariners that a small craft warning was in effect for above normal swells, and warned sea bathers against going into the water at this time.
He noted that the stronger winds associated with the system were north, and “well away from Barbados” as the system continued to track towards the west. However, he warned that there may be the occasional gusts with the showers and thunder storms.
“The gusts can probably reach up to storm force but it is expected that they would be just under. Some showers will just be heavy with little or no wind. There is going to be a lot of variability,” Mr. Best pointed out.
Meanwhile, Director of the Department of Emergency Management, Kerry Hinds, indicated that her department would contact the Ministry of Education to facilitate any requests for hurricane shelters to be opened to accommodate persons affected by flooding.
She also urged those living in flood-prone areas to be vigilant going into the night, and encouraged persons to remain in a state of preparedness this hurricane season.
“We too are monitoring the situation. We are in constant contact with the Barbados Meteorological Services, as well as all the response agencies, and will activate the [national] system if needed. Continue to monitor the media, please be vigilant and exercise caution,” she urged.