Rain-weary New Haven relieved Tropical Storm Ian drifted away just in time
A resident traverses flooded Riverside Drive roadway in New Haven, St Andrew, on Sunday afternoon.. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

The knee-high flood water that residents of New Haven in St Andrew are accustomed to was absent Sunday afternoon as Tropical Storm Ian drifted farther away from Jamaica.

Though roads were flooded throughout the community that suffered back-to-back large-scale flooding as a result of tropical storms Eta and Zeta in 2020, residents said, this time round, they were able to breathe a sigh of relief.

"It could've been worse," was the common discourse among many.

Sylvia Sullivan sat on her veranda on Riverside Drive and looked at water marks on her wall — a stark reminder of previous years.

Brandon, who lives on Riverside Driv ein New Haven, St. Andrew, says the community needs proper drainage systems. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

"Last year I was affected very badly. Everything got wet up and spoil up. The water was so high that it covered the bed and mash up my mattress. The whole yard was full of water. It was very bad," she told the Jamaica Observer.

"I'm grateful that we didn't get the storm. I am very glad. If we got the storm, it would be worse. The whole place and all the houses would be flooded out," Sullivan surmised.

The Meteorological (Met) Service initially said Tropical Storm Ian could produce 100 to 200 millimetres of rainfall, mainly over eastern and southern parishes, when it was projected to pass close to the island on Saturday night and Sunday.

But by Saturday afternoon, the Met Service stated that the weather conditions associated with the tropical storm were no longer a threat to Jamaica as the system had "drifted a bit south, outside the projected range of tropical storm force winds".

Ryan Kelly says he is happy Tropical Storm Ian drifted farther away from Jamaica as he believes that, had the system directly impacted the island, his community would've been flooded badly.. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

Another resident, Ryan Kelly, said he was happy and relieved Saturday afternoon after hearing the update.

"I am very grateful that we didn't get the storm because, normally, the whole place would be under water," he said, while standing in a puddle a short distance from his house on Riverside Drive .

"From Riverside Drive go all the way back round, the road would be flooded. Water would probably be at car level. We are grateful, but we still need proper roads and drainage, and the gullies still wah clean," Kelly continued.

Brandon, a delivery man in the community, agreed. He told the Observer that work is needed to prevent major flooding in the event that an aggressive weather system directly impacts the island.

Raheem Edwards, 21, laments that sewage water has overflowed into his home as a result of rainfall due to Tropical Storm Ian.. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

"We nuh worry about if it worse than before or not. From it flood, it flood. So once we don't get rid of the flooding, it can't get any better," he argued.

"You have to get rid of the flooding and find out how to get drainage systems and those things. And that will create employment for who is around here and not working and who want extra money."

Meanwhile, not so happy was Raheem Edwards who lives on Duhaney Terrace and was peeved by sewage water that overflowed into his home.

"We have sewage water coming up on the veranda, and when the smell rise mi can't even sleep. We have to lift up the manhole on the road fi the water run off," the 21-year-old related.

Despite floodings throughout various roads in New Haven, St. Andrew, residents say judging by previous years with Tropical Storms Zeta and Eta, the damage could've been a lot worse.. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

"When wi walk in this, you know wi have to wash off with bleach and Fabuloso. We can't do that all the while."

On Friday, January 14, mayor of Kingston Senator Councillor Delroy Williams, while speaking in the Senate, said the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) has been increasing its allocation to road maintenance, preservation, and redevelopment.

Williams said the KSAMC was able to respond to the flooding issue in New Haven caused by the Duhaney River because of its management of its Special Grant for Repairs (SGR) emergency funds.

Further, Williams noted that the KSAMC had also set aside funds to continue further works in the Duhaney River ahead of the upcoming hurricane season.

ROMARDO LYONS Staff reporter lyonsr@jamaicaobserver.com

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