BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – HEAVY rainfall and high winds adversely affected residents of and visitors to St. Kitts and Nevis over the past four days and had caused significant damage to a number of areas on both islands.
The intermittent downpours began sometime early Sunday afternoon (Oct. 3) and continued into Wednesday evening (Oct. 06).
Information obtained from the St. Kitts Meteorological Office at the RLB International Airport stated that a total of 10.99 inches of rainfall was experienced between Monday 8:00 a.m. on Monday and 8:00 a.m. on Thursday. The Met Office declared that this represents a 7.32-inch increase over the total rainfall for September 2010 (3.67 inches).
Eight days into the month of October and in excess of 11,91 inches of rainfall has already been recorded. This is said to be a significant figure, as it is almost twice that of the rainfall recorded for October 2009 which was 6.69 inches.
Massive quantities of water flowed through the Federation’s ghauts, leaving in its wake sand, silt, stones and other debris which posed some difficulty for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic to get to their respective destinations. The South East Peninsula was also filled with huge rocks which fell from the hillside.
Some homeowners reported that their residences were heavily flooded while others reported minimal damage.
Over the past few days, including today (Oct. 8), backhoes and other heavy-duty machines were on the roads clearing areas to ensure safety for motorist and pedestrians. The entire lower area of Liverpool Row had been covered with dirt and sand from the Bay Road, and many businesses in the area had to remove piles of sand that had entered their premises.
One major incident that took place was the collapse of a section of the Bay Road sidewalk and a portion of the road after constant beating from the rough Caribbean Sea. This resulted in the Traffic Department having to impose a no entry restriction, which caused motorists to seek alternate routes.
An oil tanker, which arrived in the Federation late Sunday afternoon, is currently grounded after it broke its mooring in the Basseterre harbour on the following night because of the rough weather.
According to a statement made by McClean Hobson, St. Kitts and Nevis’ Director of Maritime Affairs, a tugboat from St. Eustatius is waiting to help dislodge the 344-foot (105-metre) tanker.
Hobson said there has been no oil spill and they are hopeful that there would be none.
Lester Blackette, Director of Nevis Disaster Management Department, told SKNVibes that there has been extensive damage in a number of areas on the island. He noted that some of those areas are from Bath cemetery to Hermitage.
Blackette said the heavy rainfall had washed out the sides of some roadways and it had affected utility lines, which caused significant disruptions to services.
“A number of transformers were damaged which caused disruption in the electricity service. And there was also some beach erosion, particularly at Pennys’ Beach, where huts and bars were also damaged,” Blackette added.
He stated that a number of persons had to be rescued from flooding in their homes and at one point a certain part of the island had to be “cut off”, as water had topped a number of culverts and bridges.
According to www.antiguamet.com, the Caribbean was affected by a low pressure system which has now developed into a hurricane named Otto. Hurricane Otto is currently located 445 miles off Bermuda, moving towards the east northeast near 17 miles per hour.