Massive flood hits Martinique after 250 mm (9.8 in) of rain in 6 hours

Massive flood hits Martinique after 250 mm (9.8 in) of rain in 6 hours

Thousands of people were trapped in buildings and vehicles after extreme rainfall event accompanied by lightning and hail hit the Caribbean island of Martinique on April 16 and 17, 2018.

According to Meteo France, Saint-Joseph recorded 175 mm (6.88 inches) of rain in just 6 hours on April 16, 160 mm (6.29 inches) in Le Robert and 250 mm (9.84 inches) in Le François during the same period, with a whopping 125 mm (4.92 inches) in just 1 hour.

The storm closed schools and flooded roads, stranding thousands of people.

Some 1 200 pupils and teachers were trapped in their school building surrounded by floodwater. All were able to return to their homes later in the day, local media reported.

Officials said that more than 200 firefighters, police and 2 helicopters were mobilized to help affected.

A rare hailstorm, the second in two years, was also reported, mainly in François and Lamentin.

According to Meteo-France, which confirms an 'exceptional' phenomenon, it would be linked to the very dense vertical movement of water drops that go up and down. These, combined with a cold air from the American continent, would not have had time to cool and thus arrive on the ground in the form of hail. 

There are no reports of injuris or fatalities.

Image credit: Préfet de la Martinique

Featured image: Floods in Martinique on April 16, 2018. Credit: Phobos

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