BVI News

Rainfall levels not understood before flooding — DDM Director

Director of Disaster Management Jasen Penn revealed that the severity of a weather forecast that caused intense flash flooding across the territory earlier this week was not understood until it began raining.

Penn said the event illustrated how sudden flash flooding can be and underscored the importance of preparedness and mitigation for the entire territory.

“Part of what makes flash flooding so dangerous is that it can occur with very little warning, and unfortunately, that is what the territory experienced May 7 and 8,” Penn said. He added, “The presence of a trough had been forecasted by our partners at the Antigua Met Office; however, the level of rainfall was not understood until it was already underway.”

A flash flood warning was issued by the Antigua Met Office around 4 pm, hours after heavy rains inundated the territory.

Damage assessments began on Wednesday as the territory carried out its emergency response to the weather system. The event dumped more than five inches of rain on Road Town and approximately nine inches on Virgin Gorda.

Governor Daniel Pruce chaired a meeting on May 8 with leaders from key responding agencies, including the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, the Ministry of Health and Social Development, the BVI Ports Authority, the BVI Electricity Corporation, and the Public Works Department to discuss preliminary impacts and next steps.

“Thankfully, no lives were lost and there were no reports of injuries during the flash flood event,” Governor Pruce said. “I am grateful to everyone involved in response to the flooding and disruption caused by the heavy rains in the past few days.”

“I hope that as a territory and a community, we can come together to support those persons who now face the difficult process of recovering belongings and rebuilding businesses,” the Governor added.

In the meantime, Penn expressed gratitude for the public’s overall safety during the event. “We know that measures like school closures, office hour adjustments and requesting persons not to drive during the event disrupt persons’ routines, but these measures also help to ensure that the population can stay safe,” he said.

Meanwhile, residents were reminded that hurricane season begins on June 1 and that being ready for storms, floods, and other emergencies is important. Residents were encouraged to visit for resources like a family plan template, storm tracking map, emergency supplies checklist, and emergency shelter lists.


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  1. Resident says:

    This is nonsense. We have had had loads of floods in Road Town in the last 20 years. It’s because the roads and drains are so badly constructed and town is not designed properly.

    The rain gets funneled into town down the roads leading in; and the ghuts don’t get cleared adequately.

    Despite the billions of Government revenue since the 1980s, so much is jerry built.

    Like 26
    • Always the same says:

      It pretty much always rains heavily in May. The huts etc need to be cleared in April every year in advance of the likely storm. The same thing during hurricane season, and for the likely rains in November

  2. Radio Rich says:

    Remember the same thing happened before Irma and Maria hit. Round 2. Buckle up

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  3. Proper Preparation says:

    Flash in Antiqua 200 miles away! The six P’s comes to mind ,we’ve had all winter to prepare for flash flooding, warnings is all we get from DDM. Management suggests some proactive responses to mitigate the problems , we all know what a flash flood is , surely the departments job is to organize prevention identify flood plains and demand building control doesn’t construct schools etc unless there at an appropriate height, dredge the harbors improve the guts not just tell us it’s flooding when we’re already knee deep .

  4. Hopeless.... says:

    “the level of rainfall was not understood until it was already underway.”

    DDM has one job…. for goodness sake…

    Like 13
    Dislike 2
  5. Ausar says:

    These types of issues,sadly, will continue to occur, because we have allowed father, brother, cousin, and sister, to become de facto engineerers, instead of well educated, and well performing experts,regardless of where they were born, to plan and lay out the continuity, and maintainance of a city, the island,and all of these Virgin Islands !

    Like 19
  6. my2cents says:

    These are things only GOD above, who many of you doubt exists, controls. There is no way they could’ve known or understood the amount of rain before hand. That is why they are termed “Acts of God”. All we could do at that point is deal with it. And many of you people who are angry are the same ones who dump trash in the ghuts which block them and cause these occurances. Nature will happen and life goes on. Deal with it.

    Like 3
    Dislike 5
  7. Met office says:

    in Antigua is clueless. The National Weather Service radar in eastern Puerto Rico provided all the rain severity levels for the BVI on 7&8 May. The DDM in the BVI is relying on an outdated source of weather information.

    Like 10
    Dislike 1
  8. Curly says:

    They are not responsible for the flash flooding that occured after but they are responsible for notifying the public that high levels of rain are coming. Anyone that looked on a satellite could see that coming. Other islands were on alert so why were we not!!!!!

  9. Nonsense says:

    How come USVI knew well in advance the amount of rainfall forcasted from the 2 systems. And advised their peope. Sound like incompetence to me.

    Like 8
    Dislike 1
  10. Doppler radar says:

    Doppler radar serves as a warning literally hundreds of miles away. DDM issued forecast of 60% chance moderate showers then when we were under feet of water at 3.52pm a flash flood warning!! This is unacceptable not to admit a huge mistake. Ant Met office is not working for us (are the forecasts local Antigua area) With adequate warning schools can close early and cars move. There was no reason why that amount of rainfall cant be forecast well in advance (aka Puerto Rio and USVI ). With the millions of costs it would be nothing in comparison to have a proper met forecaster in the BVI. DDM is an extremely expensive joke.

  11. WEW says:

    Who is the DDM going to pass the blame to ? All they have to do is look at the St. John forecast from the U.S. They saw it coming.

  12. May Monsoons says:

    We get them some years- and sometimes in November. I can recall at least 5 other flooding rains in May and although some were worse, NONE caused the kind of flooding we had last week or in 2017. Why?
    Because our drains, one of the most basic parts of our infrastructure, are not being maintained.

    Does anyone else remember how the cars and trucks would wash down the John’s Hole road and pile up on the highway? Even in those much bigger rains, we STILL didn’t have floods in Town.
    The drains were maintained.
    It’s only a matter of time before that big drain at John’s Hole is blocked and vehicles start washing down again.

    How hard is it? Maintain the drains.

  13. Jamming says:

    Chuupes! Premiere let’s have the party and jamming and don’t bother with infrastructure.

  14. Mr Weather Man says:

    Get on YouTube and watch this Caribbean focused show!
    All the info is there. You just have to open your eyes!

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