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Sudden downpour floods Road Town

May 7th, 2024 | Tags: Virgin Islands BVI flooding Flash Flooding
Residents of Tortola were today, May 7, 2024, caught off-guard with flash flooding in the capital after torrential downpours turned streets into rivers. Photo: VINO/File
While the local Department of Disaster Management (DDM) said the presence of a persistent frontal trough, coupled with light winds, daytime heating and a marginal increase in low-level moisture and instability could lead to a heightened chance for shower activity, no one was prepared for the amount of rain. Photo: Team of Reporters
While the local Department of Disaster Management (DDM) said the presence of a persistent frontal trough, coupled with light winds, daytime heating and a marginal increase in low-level moisture and instability could lead to a heightened chance for shower activity, no one was prepared for the amount of rain. Photo: Team of Reporters
Residents in flood-prone areas were asked to take immediate precautions to protect life and property. Photo: Team of Reporters
Residents in flood-prone areas were asked to take immediate precautions to protect life and property. Photo: Team of Reporters
ROAD TOWN, Tortola VI – Residents of the Virgin Islands (VI), particularly in Road Town, Tortola were today, May 7, 2024, caught off-guard with flash flooding in the capital, after torrential downpours turned streets into rivers.

While the local Department of Disaster Management (DDM) said the presence of a persistent frontal trough, coupled with light winds, daytime heating and a marginal increase in low-level moisture and instability could lead to a heightened chance for shower activity, no one was prepared for the amount of rain.

Videos sent to our newsroom showed flooded streets in the capital city as well as in Huntums Ghut, Sea Cows Bay and Pockwood Pond.

Sources stated that businesses on Flemming Street were particularly affected by the flood waters.

Over the last weekend, thunderstorms, which the National Weather Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico had alerted would impact the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, came with fury on Friday, leading to heavy flooding in especially St Thomas, while triggering an island-wide power outage on St Croix.

DDM said the weather for today, May 7, 2024, was partly sunny skies with periods of increased cloudiness and a 60 per cent or moderate chance of localised showers during the mid-morning to afternoon hours.

Flash flood warning now in effect

At 4:12 PM, DDM stated on its Facebook page that a flash flood warning for low-lying and flood-prone areas of the VI would be valid until 5:30 PM.

“A flash flood warning means that moderate to major flooding is occurring or imminent in the warning area. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation. If you are in low-lying or flood-prone areas, move quickly to higher ground immediately,” DDM added.

44 Responses to “Sudden downpour floods Road Town”

  • crazy (07/05/2024, 18:51) Like (64) Dislike (7) Reply
    How they can find money for new Festival Grounds so people can wuk-up; what’s more crazy is the people who I’ll attend while driving there on bad roads. I wish it rain the night of all events. Tortola and its people priority are mixed up. Me even studying them on them Facebook talking about the flood because them also part of the problem.
    • @crazy (08/05/2024, 05:42) Like (21) Dislike (0) Reply
      Mostly bad decisions is running this country down. This weather was projected for sometime now. If they had paid attention, was proactive, all that asphalt that they just laid down would not be in vain. Businesses and residents in low-lying affected areas would have been prepared. We just concentrating on the wrong stuff all the time. That is why our quality of life is so poor here. Why can we enter into sometime exceptional?
    • TRUTH TELLER (08/05/2024, 09:48) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
      Amen, if you are not part of the solution, YOU ARE THE PROBLEM!
  • Local (07/05/2024, 19:20) Like (4) Dislike (34) Reply
    Stop blaming the government.for mother nature , what you want government to do put a huge umbrella over the island , Tortola is below sea level and is prune to flood whenever there's a heavy rainfall so stop the foolishness government putting on a music fest has nothing to do with the floods because for sure the ghuts were cleared. So stop with the stupid blog.
    • Sk**t (08/05/2024, 07:37) Like (20) Dislike (1) Reply

      Is retarded people like you why the country running how it is. I born 1994 and them never had proper drainage system so what they doing with the money every year ????

    • smh (08/05/2024, 09:47) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      Government need to put in more drainage in problem areas
  • Ova Dey So (07/05/2024, 19:43) Like (21) Dislike (3) Reply
    Mr Premier, proper roads, drainage or Music fest?
  • smh (07/05/2024, 19:58) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
    Rain fall for less than an hour and the whole place flooded. Hurricane season is less than a month away and i dont see no drainage or nothing to decrease flooding being done throughout the territory.

    This place is a mess thanks to the people we elect every four years to do nothing but fatten their own pockets SMH
    • TRUTH TELLER (08/05/2024, 09:58) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      I completely agree with you. It appears that the government's and some individuals' priorities are all mixed up. Several people in District 4 have complained about the gutters not being cleaned for years. What actions have the City Manager, Ministry, and District Representative taken to address this issue? Unfortunately, they simply do not seem to care! It is disappointing that so many people are unaware of their power to hold elected and nominated representatives accountable and make them fulfil their responsibilities."
  • Aye (07/05/2024, 20:06) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Listen right, tha premier need to go misson, he a disgrace. Them done predict this year to be more active and above average. N the drain dem still aint clean. This man don't care bout we, he care bout he pockets, partying n traveling.
    • TRUTH TELLER (08/05/2024, 10:17) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      The old proverb says, "A people gets the kind of government it very well deserves". In light of this, let's identify the responsible parties. First, he City Manager. Second, the Ministry. But most importantly, we should hold accountable the District Representative. We should also acknowledge our own responsibility as citizens. It's not enough to sit idly by while things go wrong. We must take action and show compassion, assistance and empathy to those who are affected. It's unacceptable to simply point fingers and do nothing. This is just one instance of a larger problem, and we must work together to prevent such situations from occurring.
  • please (07/05/2024, 20:11) Like (36) Dislike (0) Reply
    DDM communicate to the public with weather forecasts they can understand. The best forecast is the short forecast; '60 percent chance of localized showers in the morning and afternoon.' The second sentence in this article is nearly 50 words that don't tell us what we need to know about today's rainy weather!
  • Irma (07/05/2024, 20:12) Like (25) Dislike (1) Reply
    One month away from hurricane cane season why isn’t the government have people out on the road clearing the drain look at what happen today prime example of a government who don’t care drains should always be cleared an clean sorry for all those new vehicles on the road
  • LL (07/05/2024, 20:40) Like (4) Dislike (5) Reply
    What does a new festival grounds has to do with a major flooding when people’s lives and property are at risk
    • TRUTH TELLER (08/05/2024, 10:00) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Right you are, Goes to show exactly how messed up people are.
  • BVI Style (07/05/2024, 20:42) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    DDM dropped the ball again. I remember the August Monday flooding. No advance warning. The warning was only issued after the place was already flooded. Are they accountable to anyone?
  • Roger Burnett (07/05/2024, 20:47) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    The flooding can be traced back to the 1960's flawed development that moved the palm studded Wickham Cays from their rightful place in Road Harbour and dumped them alongside Road Town, with no provision for drainage.

    But mother nature doesn't like being messed about with and you can be sure that she'll continue her efforts to put the cays back where they rightfully belong.
  • Just 20 mins.. (07/05/2024, 21:03) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dry weather land..Poor drainage design..Warn them to done with using pipes as drainage and used 3ft culburt we can walk on top while the water flow uninterrupted below to the sea....If we happen to get 1hr of uninterrupted rain may the lord help..
  • even better (07/05/2024, 21:16) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    no skl for the chilren dem
  • Early earning (07/05/2024, 22:24) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    That amount of rain shows up on radar. So why do we continually get flash flood warnings AFTER the event!! Early notice would have enabled people to move cars and sandbag. The Ant met office clearly does not monitor events potentially impacting BVI closely, we need local expertise especially whomever puts these posts on Facebook.
  • lol (07/05/2024, 22:56) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    Anybody see what the wuk up grounds in front of Admin look like? Probably just fit for pigs now. Somebody please tell parna man that doh mek sense
  • Xxx (08/05/2024, 05:02) Like (1) Dislike (9) Reply
    What's the big deal this happens in every country
    • HMMM (08/05/2024, 12:19) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      You have to work at DDM, do yall work and still sitting around..... this was very clear on the weather radar.... yall just a waste of time.....
  • vex (08/05/2024, 05:10) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    Rain rain go away this is my shopping day
  • Streups (08/05/2024, 06:02) Like (23) Dislike (0) Reply
    Stop waiting for DDM to be sending information on the weather, sometimes they themselves cannot even keep up. A lot of us have smart phones. Most religiously use them for social media apps. A lot of apps are free, there are even free weather apps, download them and visit the weather app like you do with your social apps. Today, we will have more showers - dress adequately, try to stay dry and be safe. Please drivers, be kind to the pedestrians, it's already a daunting feat to walk in the rain, but to be splashed. Terrible! The road are already coursed with the uprising asphalt, loosened speed bumps and rock and other fallen debris, be careful, be mindful, drive slow - all the best everyone!
    • @strupes (08/05/2024, 13:34) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
      If what you are saying is so then we should use our "smart phones" to solve the issues in our country so that the persons including the DDM who are responsible to do so could walk aroud scot free.
  • Eagle (08/05/2024, 06:04) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    DDM Issued a statemsnt @ 4:12 for flash flood warning after the place was flooded. A warning comes before not after the event.
  • priest (08/05/2024, 06:05) Like (42) Dislike (1) Reply
    The BVI is bankrupt, not due to the want of money but, bankrupt due to the lack of knowledge and problem solving. The infrastructure has totally colapse. My God who is running this country?!!. On the other hand while we have no control of the weather the DDM should at least have an idea of what was going to happen last evening people could have lost their life. It was frightening to see those buses descending those hills in that flash flood loaded with school children .
  • resident (08/05/2024, 06:45) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    our bad roads with no drainage is just bvi love
  • More Photo Ops? (08/05/2024, 07:26) Like (20) Dislike (0) Reply
    So the political party who in gonna walk around round town again and let the media take photos of them pointing at the ghuts?

    How you scheduling meetings for beautification of Road Town when even the basics like cleaning ghuts, drains and maintenance of the landscape is not being done?

    We are so far behind.
  • DEDE (08/05/2024, 08:26) Like (9) Dislike (5) Reply
    We need to stop blaming the government for everything that goes wrong. When we dump out garbage in the ghuts and side of the road instead of taking it the incinerator what do you expect.

    When you build on every inch of your property and fail to follow the approved building plan, what do you think will happen.

    When you park you old broke down vehicles and boats along the public road and on other people property, refuse to move them and vex when told to do so. What do you think will happen.

    The government has a responsibility to the people but we also have a responsibility too and that cannot be ignored. Every time some thing goes wrong we blame the government but do take responsibility for our actions. We don’t call out our friend and family for thing they do wrong that can affect other people lives. Cleaning the ghuts and drainage go along way but people need to stop dumping their trash in these areas.
  • jj (08/05/2024, 11:53) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    The person who say that the Government is giving away there country do see what the one who the country belongs to can do in a second fear God oh
  • E. Leonard (08/05/2024, 13:56) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Road Town, the VI capital city, has urbanized much since the mid-1960s. And when an area urbanizes, at minimum a few things occur, i.e., a) runoff(volume) increases, and b) the velocity of runoff increases. Additionally, the connection of Road Town to Wickham Cay further worsens the drainage collection, conveyance, and discharge process. . Road Town developed and improved, however , the capacity and capability of the drainage system was not enhance to keep pace with the growth and development It seems as if the drainage system may be only capable perhaps to handle runoff from high recurrent interval/frequency rain events, ie, 2- year, 5- year, etc rain events. The system does not appear capable of handling less frequent recurrent interval rain, ie, 20- year, 50-year, 100-year., etc rain events. Runoff results when rain is not absorbed into the ground. Runoff flows from higher elevations to lower elevations. Moreover, rivers, streams, ghuts, etc discharge into the sea. And for runoff to flow into the sea, the sea level cannot be at the same level or higher than the discharge from the land. If it is, a hydraulic restriction occurs and flooding upstream occurs; the situation becomes more pronounced at high tide. The discharges at Purcell, Wickhams Cay , etc areas are examples. Moreover, the VI road network are typically two lanes and the drainage system, especially in the Road Town, should be designed, constructed and maintained to take runoff off the road surface as quickly as possible and practical to minimize flooding. On multi-lane roads, some flooding of lanes can be tolerated but this not the case in the VI. What is the fix or improvement for drainage relief at Road Town-Wickham Cay?

    Exploring and constructing a pump station(s) can help to help to resolve/relief the drainage problem. Constructing a sea wall is another option. Clearly, these are large capital projects . Nonetheless, for a drainage system to operate optimally, it must be continually maintained and repaired. There should be set periodic schedules for maintaining drainage systems,, ie, inlets, catch basins, manholes, road side ditches, curb and gutter, ghuts, etc.
    • @E. Leonard (08/05/2024, 16:11) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
      To E. Leonard, ah yu migrate to big countries like America and don’t look back on the ole country. On another note, these big drainage ideas you all see in America and elsewhere are not going to work in the BVI. Hell, the BVI cannot even maintain potholes. My poor car cries and groans every time she is on the road. All you should not turn all you back on the olde country, for she give all you your foundation and start. Some of all you pretend to love her from afar vicariously.
      • @@E. Leonard (09/05/2024, 07:54) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
        To @E. Leonard, you keeping it real. We send tun ah people overseas to study and what do they bring back? Politicians fly all over the world and what do they bring back? Just flinging money at things clearly has not worked. A better course of action would have been to develop a vision, mission, a plan of action and milestones, conduct a feasibility study, conduct a risk- reward study, etc, before flinging money at drainage or any other function. The governing structure, process, etc, is a flop, a failure, and so on…
      • @@E. Leonard (09/05/2024, 18:37) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply

        @@E. Leonard, stop the damn pretense. When Virgin Islanders venture to come back, they are treated like sh** perhaps from insecurity, jealousy, crab-in-barrel behavior, etc.,Fed up with cold welcome, they bolt from the territory as quickly as possible. The divide and rule mentality wheel is turning if only slowly. With this behaviour, the colonialists don’t have to do much, for they have partners with their agenda.

    • LCS (08/05/2024, 17:44) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      Well said. Thanks for such excellent explanation and information. Hopefully Communication and Works people read it.
    • Lessness (08/05/2024, 19:42) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      To E. Leonard, good read but the poor drainage is another example of BVI governing lessness. Look at the roads they are flat like pancakes which contributes to settling. It seems as a cloud makes up Road Toen flood. They run and try to clean ghuts when it is projected rain is coming. I don’t see a pump station even being considered. Building a sea wall is interesting. St Thomas built a sea wall at the water from. But I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for drainage improvement. Music fests are the expenditure of choice. Lessness, Lessness….
    • @ LEONARD (09/05/2024, 14:20) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      @E.Leonard,, can you provide a KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) explanation of 100/year, 500-year, etc rain events. Thanks.
      • E. Leonard (09/05/2024, 16:17) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        @E. Leonard, here is my best recall of the def of a 100-year rain, ie, it has a 1% chance of occuring in any year. But the reality is, there is a 1% chance of occurring at any time. Similarly, a 500-year rain has a 0.2% chance of occurring any year.. Further, in my blog, I talked about frequent recurring interval rain. For example a 1% rain has a 100% chance of occurring in any year. Further, 2% rain has a 50% chance of occuring in any year. All these rains bring a define volume of rain.

        Moreover, when the volume of runoff exceeds the capacity of the drainage system, the system surcharges resulting in flooding. The flooding can back up into the plumbing system resulting in flooding in homes and other facilities..

        The drainage system should be maintained, ie, cleaning on a programmatic periodic schedule in and outside of hurricane season. Nevertheless,,maintenance aside, It is cost prohibitive to construct, maintain, operate and managed a drainage system with the capacity to safely handle all rain events, especially the less frequent recurrent interval rains. Consequently, as another more blogger more colorfully noted that with these events the community will take some blows. To transfer the risk, may require property owners to increase insurance coverage, which may already be high and out of reach of many property owners. It is importance to note that insurance companies may have separate flood, and wind storm. In the US, the Federal government offers flood insurance.
        • RealPol (10/05/2024, 09:36) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          Public works, you have some struggles and challenges even keeping up with a few potholes but are you listening to the suggestion that drainage channels, eg, ghuts, etc need to cleaned and maintained on a periodic basis in and outside of hurricane season. There is no holiday outside of hurricane; spend this time preparing for tropical systems, including hurricanes. It is about planning, proactive planning, preparedness and readiness. Delay is sometime used as a management strategy. Nevertheless, not with drainage planning, readiness and prepared. Either the PS or Minister should mandate a periodic ghut cleaning Standard Operating Procedure ( SOP). The minister should have to get down in the weeds but a big stick is needed to get the job done. The minister should take the action on pothole repair. The pothole situation is embarrassing. It now requires PWsplaining, shaming , hand holding, etc., to get ah dun.
      • @E.Leonard (09/05/2024, 18:47) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        To E. Leonard, thanks for the explanation.,it seems with growth and development this drainage thing gets more complicated and involved. Many were perhaps of the view that if timely maintenance was done, no problem with drainage..Drainage system maintenance is needed but much more is needed. This issue needs to be kicked over to the MCW, Public Works, RDA, etc.
  • WELL HALLELUIAH (09/05/2024, 07:33) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    • @ WELL HALLELUIAH ( (09/05/2024, 14:15) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      WELL HALLELUIAH, a little knowledge is sometime a good thing and can also be bad, leading us down rabbit holes. Clearly,,you don’t have a full grasp of drainage, which is not as simple as it seems. Your point on cleaning and maintaining ghuts and other systems periodically and in timely manner is well taken. The reality is that this practical to build drainage systems to safely handle every storm, especially major rain events,,eg, 100-year,,500-year, etc rain events..With the large rain events, the best a community can do is minimize the damage by trying to protect property,,protecting lives..With these major events, the community will take some blows. By the way who is the Historian????

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