Jamaica hit by flash floods

Rivers overflow after days of heavy rain lash the Caribbean island nation, washing away roads and bridges.

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    A prolonged spell of torrential downpours has led the Meteorological Service of Jamaica to issue flash-flood warnings across the Caribbean nation.

    The heaviest rains set in over the weekend as a stationary weather system ground to a halt over the island.

    The warnings were put in place for low-lying and flood-prone areas across all parishes as the trough sat over the island, producing unstable weather conditions.

    Norman Manley Airport in Kingston reported 185mm of rain on Monday. A staggering 128mm of which fell in just six hours. Kingston normally expects around 70mm for the entire month of May.

    As is usually the case when flooding hits the country, there have been numerous mudslides. Dozens of roads have been blocked and a number of bridges have been washed away.

    All parts have suffered some degree of disruption but the parishes of Westmoreland, St James, Trelawny, St Ann and St Thomas do seem to have been particularly badly affected.

    Jamaica is a very hilly country, with the Blue Mountains in the eastern third of the island rising to 2,256 metres above sea level.

    It should be noted that the Blue Mountains rise to its elevations from the coastal plain in the space of about 16km, thus producing one of the steepest general gradients in the world.

    The warnings were downgraded to flood watches on Tuesday, but the risk does remain for those low-lying and flood-prone areas.

    The rainfall is not as intense, with the heaviest downpours now crossing Cuba.

    The forecast is for occasional showers and thunderstorms in Jamaica, mainly across central and eastern parishes.

    Hence the threat of further flooding remains possible.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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