Rain damage across St Lucia

rhondathompson, rhondathompson@nationnews.com

Added 30 April 2011

pitonsstlucia

CASTRIES, St Lucia – Heavy rains over the past five days have caused widespread damage across the island but there have been no reports so far of any deaths. Director of Meteorological Services Thomas Auguste said that the weather pattern is not only unusual but it is the highest recorded for the month of April in many years.  “Up to Friday morning we recorded 354.4 millimeters (mm) of rainfall in the south which is the highest on our records for April which we started compiling in 1973, and the month is not done as yet,” he said. “In the north we recorded 237.10 mm, this is our second highest on record. The last time we had such high rainfall was in 1981. So to put that in perspective the average rainfall in the south for April since 1973 is 66 mm and for the north 72 mm, so this month so far is five times the average,” Auguste noted. He said the rains have left many hillsides now recovering from the passage of Hurricane Tomas last year very saturated and officials from the National Emergency Organization (NEMO) have told residents to be on the lookout for landslides and flooding. “So we are asking all St. Lucians and in particular persons in low lying areas and near rivers to take every precaution necessary,” says Hubert Pierre Red Cross Director.  The authorities have reported widespread damage and flooding in several areas but said teams would tour the area later to assess the fuill extent of the damage. Ironically, the heavy unseasonal rains follow the last 12 months when the island recorded one of the worst drought periods in years On Friday, residents of East Coast community of Bexon were being encouraged to leave their homes and the authorities were urging motorists to use alternative routes to enter the area. The rains are also affecting the annual St. Lucia Jazz Festival, which is due to begin here later on Saturday. The St. Lucia Tourist Board, which is organizing the event, said that changes have already been made to the opening ceremony. (CMC)

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