Flooding not seen since hurricanes Gilbert and IvanSunday, August 29, 2021
SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — Audie Myers, People's National Party councillor for the Siloah Division in St Elizabeth North Eastern, has seen the crucial Windsor Bridge and road blocked by flood water many times.
But he insists that, to his recollection, only after Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 has he seen it covered by water to the extent it is now. The bridge and road link Siloah to communities to the north, such as Williamsfield, Thornton, Aberdeen, Pullet Hall, and Quick Step, close to or in the Cockpit Country.
“All you can see of the bridge is the top railing,” Myers told the Jamaica Observer by telephone.
Photos sent by Myers via WhatsApp showed water completely covering the road leading to the Windsor Bridge.
Myers said the Windsor Bridge and road have been completely blocked since early Friday as a result of heavy rains associated with a tropical depression which drenched southern sections of Jamaica over recent days.
There has been extensive damage to infrastructure and agriculture from the latest weather system which followed hard on the heels of Tropical Storm Grace.
The Windsor Bridge spans the upper reaches of the Black River. That river springs to the surface in the Cockpit Country and wends its way through several towns and villages including Siloah, Maggotty, Lacovia, Slipe, and Vineyard before entering the sea in the town of Black River, St Elizabeth's capital.
Locals fear that as water levels rise in the river, low-lying communities close to the Black River Morass will be seriously affected in coming days. The good news yesterday was that after three days of heavy rain, the sun was shining brightly.
Myers was concerned that a major upgrade of the ageing bridge promised by Government “years ago” was still not done.
“The structure of the bridge has been eroding for a long time and the prime minister mentioned it for work to be done in a budget speech sometime ago. This flooding now will only weaken the structure further. The Government and the National Works Agency have to get moving on this,” he said.
— Garfield Myers