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Extreme rainfall hits Jamaica, major flooding and landslides


A trough across the central Caribbean is dumping extremely heavy rain on parts of Jamaica since Saturday evening, May 13, 2017, causing major flooding and landslides. Flooding affected 10 of country's 14 parishes, with Clarendon the worst hit. The Health Ministry has issued gastroenteritis and leptospirosis alert. Met Service said the island experienced an unprecedented level of rainfall. Some parishes saw more rain over the four days than the usual average for the entire month of May.

Loss of bridges, multiple damaged roads and marooned communities have made Clarendon the parish worst affected by more than 72 hours of heavy rainfall, The Jamaica Gleaner reports.

Rio Minho overflowed its banks in several sections of northern Clarendon causing sever damage in many communities. Near Pennack Bridget, farmers have lost crops and evacuated their homes. In southern Clarendon, extensive flooding was reported in Banks, Sedge Pond, Water Lane, Foga Road, McGilchrist Pen and Four Paths. Alley bridge was temporarily impassable while the Green River and Dam Head bridges along Rio Minho were washed away.

Office of Disaster Preparedness reported Aenon Town in Clarendon North Western inundated with up to 5.2 m (17 feet) of flood waters.

Scores of motorists and pedestrians were also left stranded in Pennants Square as the Rio Minho, which was in spate and overflowed on to the roadway, deposited truckloads of silt.

YouTube video

YouTube video

Several areas are also without water as a result of high turbidity levels, blocked intakes and access, dislocated pipelines and power supply problems that have forced the shutdown of water supply facilities. Some 12 000 people were reportedly without power Tuesday, May 16.

"The peak of the intense weather system affecting the island for the last four days has now passed," the director of the Meteorological Service Division, Evan Thompson, said yesterday. The weather should return to normal by Friday, he said.

72 hours of rainfall accumulation ending 15:00 UTC on May 17, 2017

72 hours of rainfall accumulation ending 15:00 UTC on May 17, 2017. Credit: NASA/JAXA GPM

Thompson said that the island has experienced an unprecedented level of rainfall over the last four days and that some parishes such as Clarendon, St Mary and St Catherine saw more rain over the four days than the usual average for the entire month of May.

The same weather system is dumping extremely heavy rain on Matthew-stricken southern Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Featured image: Cave Valley under water, Jamaica – May 2017. Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner


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