It is likely to be a wet weekend in Jamaica

It is likely to be a wet weekend in Jamaica

Thursday, September 13, 2018

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TROPICAL Storm Isaac weakened yesterday as it moved closer to the Caribbean. However, Isaac, which is projected to pass south of Jamaica on Saturday, is expected to begin impacting the island with heavy rains tomorrow.

At the same time, the Meteorological (Met) Service of Jamaica said that a trough, which dumped heavy showers on several parishes yesterday, is expected to linger across the country for a few days.

Motorists yesterday encountered major delays as several thoroughfares were flooded because major road rehabilitation is taking place in the Corporate Area, while pedestrians competed with vehicles for space on the roads under rehabilitation.

The Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) said that it is fully prepared for any eventuality if the storm becomes a threat to Jamaica.

Deputy Mayor of KSAMC Winston Ennis told Tuesday's monthly meeting of the council that “all the critical drains have been cleaned”.

The deputy mayor, who said that the drains in 37 of the 40 local government divisions had already been cleaned, urged councillors to stay close to their communities, to be able to offer assistance “in case of extra rain over the weekend. If it rains there shouldn't be any flooding,” Ennis said.

He added that 97 shelters in the KSAMC are ready to accommodate residents in the event of an emergency.

The deputy mayor, who said that all the shelter managers have been trained, said the list and locations of the shelters would be put on the KSAMC's website.

In June, the KSAMC began drain cleaning in its 21 divisions. The corporation said that it has spent an estimated $70 million to clean the drains.

In the meantime, the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) Shadow Minister for Local Government Dr Angela Brown Burke is calling on Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie to ensure that sufficient funds are allocated to allow for emergency cleaning of drains as the country prepares for possible impact from Tropical Storm Isaac.

“The country needs to be made aware of the state of preparedness of our shelters and emergency management systems. We have not yet heard from the 14 municipal corporations about any collaboration and multi-stakeholder discussion to assess where we are and to ensure that all is in place, for the arrival of [Tropical Storm] Isaac,” Dr Brown Burke said.

The shadow minister, in a news release yesterday, said with reports so far indicating that Tropical Storm Isaac “is approaching Jamaica”, the Government must take the lead in ensuring the nation's preparedness.

“While we rely on the Met Service for its reports, we are also mindful that each council has a duty to assist citizens and must be prepared to assist citizens for any eventuality. We believe that the time is now to remind Jamaicans of the emergency numbers and procedures,” she said.

Dr Brown Burke said while some amount of general advertising about disaster preparedness has been aired since the start of the season, specific targeting needs to be done in light of the approaching system and in particular as it relates to vulnerable communities in low-lying and flood prone areas, as well as those that are close to drains and gullies that may be in need of cleaning.

In the meantime, Isaac's impact on the Lesser Antilles is expected today as the storm moves westward at 21 mph. At 1:00 pm yesterday, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Isaac was located approximately 420 miles east of Martinique.

As the storm continued to weaken in its move across the Caribbean Sea, hurricane watches were lifted for a number of Caribbean islands, but a tropical storm warning remained in effect for Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe, while a tropical storm watch was issued for Antigua, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saba, and St Eustatius.

— Claudienne Edwards and Kimone Francis contributed to this story


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