Jamaica prepares for more rain from Richard

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Richard, the 17th named storm of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, is forecast to develop into a hurricane tomorrow and Jamaica is bracing itself for another battering.

The Meteorological Office says the forecast is for rainfall accumulations of four to eight inches across the island with possible isolated amounts of 12 inches in areas of higher terrain.

At 4:00 pm yesterday, the centre of Richard was located near latitude 16.0 degrees north and longitude 80.4 degrees west or about 375 kilometres south southeast of Grand Cayman and was drifting toward the south-southeast near six km/h with maximum sustained winds of near 65 km/h, with higher gusts.

According to the Met Office, the storm’s centre is projected to remain southwest of the island until late today, before moving further west away from the island.

“As a result, unstable weather conditions are expected to continue over Jamaica (into today),” the Met Office said in its 5:00 pm bulletin.

“The forecast is for heavy and at times very heavy showers and thunderstorms across the island; flooding and flash flooding of low-lying and floodprone areas is therefore expected,” the Met Office added.

Motorists and pedestrians were warned to avoid attempting to cross flooded roadways or other low-lying areas as strong currents are likely.

The Met Office also urged residents in low-lying areas to be on the alert for rising waters and be ready to move quickly to higher ground.

Last night, NWA communications manager, Stephen Shaw, said the works agency had cleared some of the drains that caused the flooding in the western end of the island, but admitted that more work needed to be done.

Among some of these areas, he said, were the Golf Club in Negril, Toby Hole and Seven Rivers in St James.

In the meantime, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), which had its officers across the island on standby, said it had not received any call for assistance.