Tropical wave impacts southern parishesFriday, August 27, 2021
BY KASEY WILLIAMS
HEAVY and persistent rain lashed southern parishes yesterday, triggering landslides, roadblocks and damage to roads caused by flooding.
The rain, which came just over a week after Tropical Storm Grace left an estimated $171 million in infrastructural damage, was associated with a tropical depression which late yesterday strengthened to become Tropical Storm Ida off Jamaica's south-western coast.
National Works Agency (NWA) Communications Manager Stephen Shaw said yesterday that more than 10 corridors in St Thomas, St Andrew, Clarendon, and St Elizabeth had been impacted.
In St Elizabeth, the town of Balaclava was flooded, while the roads from Pedro Cross to Lititz and Wilton to Union were impassable due to flooding.
Disaster coordinator for St Elizabeth Ornella Lewis told the Jamaica Observer that several roads were impacted by flooding and fallen trees.
There were reports of flooding in Black River, Santa Cruz, Font Hill, Lacovia to Mountainside and Brompton.
“A whole lot of things are happening across the parish. We are having some flooding in Black River. Over at the St Elizabeth/Manchester border [and] the New Forest area there has been a lot of flooding along roadways,” Lewis said.
“The Doctor Rock Road in Santa Cruz, there has been some flooding. There [were] a number of fallen trees that blocked roads [including] the Black River to Luana main road,” she added.
Lewis disclosed that several businesses in Balaclava, including a gas station and supermarkets, had been impacted by the flooding.
The roof of a three-bedroom house was blown off by strong wind in Lititz.
“There was a freak storm and it affected at least two houses on Third Street. The roof of the three-bedroom house is gone. We have notified our Ministry of Labour team and they are assisting in that regard,” said Lewis.
“I have been getting reports of heavy rain across the length and breadth of the parish,” she added.
Councillor Layton Smith (People's National Party, Myersville Division) said a car was damaged by a fallen tree in Lititz and a house lost its roof, but the occupants refused to leave the dwelling.
“The roof of the three-bedroom house, all the rooms except one [was] blown off. There is a [sick person] there, so that's why they [the family] don't want to move into the shelter [at Lititz Primary School],” he said.
Up to late yesterday, the shelter was on standby as Smith said none of the residents in the area wanted to leave their homes.
“If the rain continues to fall, we will open that shelter, because some of the roads in the area are flooded,” he said.
In the Braes River Division, there was flooding in Pepper, Goshen, Grosmond, Braes River and George's Valley, according to Councillor Donovan Pagon (PNP).
In Manchester, residents of Alligator Pond and New Forest up to late yesterday were closely watching flooding in their communities with at least one shelter at New Forest Primary School being on stand-by.
Omar Robinson, a resident of Alligator Pond, said people were forced to take alternative routes to access their homes following flooding along the Alligator Pond to Gutts River road.
“The road that takes you from Alligator Pond to Clarendon, it is now impassable, engulfed with a lot of water. The other area affected is Lane at New Forest [where] the water has overrun the culvert and now a [household] that lives nearby, they are thinking of evacuating,” he said.
In Mandeville deCarteret Road, Bonitto Crescent, Levy Lane, Villa Road and Harriott Meadows were flooded.
Villa Road, in recent months, had undergone major drainage work, but that was not enough yesterday, as the road, as well as a commercial property, was flooded.
Rose Mitchell, a resident of Harriott Meadows, complained about the poor response from the relevant authority to address the longstanding problem of flooding in that area.
“The water is so bad that it is around my house and about to come into the garage. For years this has been an issue whenever there is heavy rain. We can't leave our homes,” she said.
At least 10 households were left marooned in Harriott Meadows as a result of the flooding.
Shaw said that in Clarendon sections of the roads from Rock River to Moores, Danks to Crofts Hill, and Chateau to Moores were affected by landslides and silt.
Shaw added that flooding impacted roads from Toll Gate to Rest, May Pen to Soursop Turn, and the Aenon Town community.
He said St Thomas had a major breakaway which resulted in the closure of the main road between Bethel and White Ford at Mount Vernon, while there were reports of flooding along the Bath to Hordley main road and in Port Morant Square.