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Message: Tropical Storm Emily moved slowly through the Caribbean region during the period July 29 to August 4, 2011 bringing heavy rains to the Eastern Caribbean and also southern Haiti. Heavy rains caused flash floods and landslides, but overall, minimal damage and no deaths were reported.

 

Event:

A tropical wave accompanied by a well-defined low pressure system moved towards the Eastern Caribbean on Friday July 29, 2011. As at 2:00 p.m. July 29, the system was located about 1150 miles East-South-east of the Lesser Antilles and continued to show signs of organization as environmental conditions were favourable for development.

The system brought heavy rains, thunderstorms and occasional gusty winds to many of the Leeward Islands over the period July 29-31, causing flash floods in Barbados, along with some landslides in Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia and Dominica.

On August 1, 2011 at 7:30P, the National Hurricane Centre issued a special bulletin advising of the formation of Tropical Storm Emily located at 15.2N 62.0W or about 50 miles WSW of Dominica. Maximum sustained winds were 40 mph moving to the west at 17 mph. Governments issued Tropical Storm watches for several CDEMA States -  Dominica, Virgin Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Antigua and Haiti.

As at 5:00 PM on Thursday August 4, 2011, Emily degenerated into a trough of low pressure about 100 miles SSW of the Eastern tip of Cuba, but continued to bring heavy rains over Hispaniola, including southern Haiti; maximum winds were 35mph.

Prognosis:

Whilst Emily has degenerated into a trough of low pressure, there is a possibility that the system can become better organised. High rainfall accumulations of 12 inches with isolated amounts of 20 inches are associated with the system. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.  Haiti, Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas should continue to monitor the system.

Impact and National Actions:

SAINT LUCIA

Saint Lucia was impacted in the formative stages of Emily whilst it was still a low pressure system and was closely monitored by that country in the event that it quickly developed.

Flooding was reported in several areas of Castries and Vieux Fort but the waters receded rapidly. In Babonneau flooding was  reported in some areas including the Bon la Maison on the way to Des Barras where the bridge was  impassable due to the flooding and swift currents. Fallen trees were also reported on the way to Boguis which also downed some power lines.

Landslides were reported from La Haut/Laderra in Soufriere, which made the area impassable. Landslides were also reported in Canaries, Bagatelle and Vannard. Rock slides were also reported at the Laborie By-pass which made the road impassable to Heavy Goods Vehicles. Water was shut off in several areas due to heavy rains, swelling rivers and high turbidity.

The National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO)  monitored the system, coordinated national actions and prepared reports on impacts and response actions. District Committees conducted assessments and shared information on impacts and needs with the National Emergency Operations Centre. The Ministry of Communications and Works conducted clearing of roads, culverts and drains and WASCO sought to restore pumping of water once the system passed.

ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

St. Vincent and the Grenadines was also impacted in the formative stages of Emily, whilst still a low pressure system. Flooding and landslides were recorded in different areas on mainland St. Vincent. Landslides blocked roads in Simon, Calder, South Wood, La Croix, Stubbs, Carapan and Belmont on the Windward side and Campden Park and Dark View on the Leeward side of the island. Flooding was reported at Buccament, Lower Questelles, Calliaqua and Arnos Vale in the vicinity of the airport.

The E.T Joshua Airport was closed for about one and a half hours between 11:00 am to 12:30 pm on August 1, 2011 after the lower end of the runway was flooded. Over six inches of rain was recorded at the ET. Joshua Airport in the 24-hour period.

The National Emergency Operation Centre was partially activated, coordinated the response efforts and shared information on impacts. The Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) responded and conducted damage assessments. The Building Roads and General Services Authority (BRAGSA) conducted road clearing and cleaning operations.

HAITI

Haiti experienced gusty winds and heavy rains associated with Emily which caused rivers to swell particularly in southern Haiti. Some homes were flooded out. No deaths have been reported. The system was downgraded to a trough of low pressure off the southern coast but is being monitored for any strengthening.

Several preparations were undertaken for the passage of the system. The Permanent Secretariat of risks and disaster management in conjunction with the National Meteorological Centre (NJC) issued a hurricane warning for Haiti on Tuesday August 2, 2011 after a slight acceleration of Tropical Storm Emily. The country was placed on cyclone red alert, since some areas in the country had already been experiencing heavy rains and in recognition of the extreme vulnerability of some departments. The continuing threat of heavy rain and strong winds associated with Emily, increased the risks of landslides and floods across the country.

The National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) was activated and municipal, local committees, and volunteers placed on alert. A Press Conference was convened and the Minister of Interior and Local Authorities, Paul Antoine Bien-Aime called on the population to evacuate and offered the support of civil protection to assist displaced people in leaving areas at risk. The Director, Department of Civil Protection also emphasised the threat of cholera and the need for strengthening of hygiene measures, as it was recognised that the cholera epidemic could spread quickly due to floods caused by Emily.

Preparedness information was shared with the population with assistance from the media and text messages were also sent out to warn the population.

Regional Response

The CDEMA Coordinating Unit (CDEMA CU) monitored the system whilst it was developing and continues to monitor for any further development. The CDEMA CU has maintained contact with threatened states to provide any assistance as necessary. At the sub-regional level, the Eastern sub-region led by Antigua and Barbuda established a twitter group with the states in their geographic zone to monitor the situation as an input to any possible response.

In collaboration with the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), online discussions were held with meteorological and disaster management officials as the system developed, to inform scenario planning for decision making at the national and regional levels. This deepens the collaboration already being undertaken between these two institutions at the regional level.

The CDEMA 24 hour contact number is 246-425-0386.

 

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