New Providence and surrounding islands are still drying off today following several hours of battering heavy rains and a thunder and lightning storm Sunday morning.
According to Forecaster at the Department of Meteorology, Kaylinda Ward, the freak weather was the result of “a mid-level disturbance which developed in the Gulf of Mexico moving over us Saturday night.”
The system dumped some four inches of rain on the island, which resulted in ‘localized flooding’.
“By Sunday afternoon the system had already pushed to the east of The Bahamas and we got the clearing around that time,” said Ward.
By the time most of capital woke up, many of the streets were literally impassable from the heavy downpour making the Sunday morning commute for many church goers impossible or a struggle to brave the high floods with their vehicles.
In flood-prone areas like Pinewood Gardens, the southwestern district and many major roads, water settled for most of the morning to more than four inches. Some motorists found it challenging to traverse the streets. Pinewood Gardens residents complained once again of flooding entering their homes.
“It’s like a hurricane passed overnight,” said one Carmichael resident. “No one saw this coming and in a matter of hours the floods are unbelievable!”
Another resident of Pinewood Gardens we spoke to said she didn’t even bother to leave the house. She said: “I knew what I was going to experience just to get out of my neighborhood, so although I was scheduled to work, I called them in enough time and told them it wasn’t happening this morning. They know where I lived, so my supervisor was quite understanding.”
Member of Parliament for the area, Reuben Rahming, says if the 80 drains in the area were cleared they would have feared better.
“I’m not so much concerned if the drains don’t work, your job is to keep it clear,” Rahming said. “Keep it clear and let it fail! But don’t let it fail because it’s not clear! It’s as simple as that. Just, do your job, That’s all!”
Meanwhile Sr. Engineer in the Ministry of Public Works, Dexter Williams, said the drains aren’t effective in high tide but only low tide. According to Williams, the excessive rainfall would have overcome the system “they are not effective.” He agreed however the drains are not well maintained.
“If you have four inches of rain over a five-hour period and the wells are well maintained over here, in this area the wells don’t work at optimum level well over here. We designed the wells to take 600 to 610 gallons a minute generally but these wells take much less than that.”
The heavy downpour came on the morning time also sprung forward an hour, which meant, many church goers found themselves spending the morning home.
Social media was also abuzz as many posted pictures of the flood waters outside their doors. It was also filled with church goers who opted to stay home due to the early showers, which took place around the same time they would have left home for services.
“I hardly ever miss church but this was one morning it didn’t make much sense trying to get out the house for 7:00 a.m.,” said one worshiper who attends a popular Pinewood church. “I thought I was really late when I arrived a half hour after service started, but to my surprise a service, which is usually filled, was practically three-quarters empty.”
Forecaster Ward says the lightning and thunderstorm lasted from about 2:00 a.m. until 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning.
The bad weather is not over however.
According to Ward, the islands may experience more showers Monday night as a new cold front pushes in.
“Florida is forecasting possible tornadic activity,” she said.
“We will closely monitor the activity to see whether it will affect any part of The Bahamas as well. There is another cool down behind the showers Monday night. We can expect temperatures to dip to the 50’s about high 50’s while Florida may experience temperatures in the 30’s in some parts.”
Ward said the front should pass through fast however, another one is expected around Wednesday.