Thousands of residents on New Providence were forced to abandon their homes after heavy rainfall associated with the outer bands of Hurricane Dorian caused widespread flooding on the island.
The heavy rainfall lashed New Providence Sunday night and Monday morning. Many communities such as Fox Hill, Yamacraw, Pinewood Gardens, portions of Golden Gates and others, were under two to three inches of water.
Some of those communities are known to struggle with flooding.
However, some people who had to leave their homes in the middle of the night said they had never seen anything like this.
Yesterday morning, there were 37 people in the Kendall Isaacs Gym, which was organized as a shelter.
“We have persons from Carmichael Road, some persons from as far as Sandilands Village, and also from the Ridgeland Park area,” said Department of Social Services Chief Welfare Officer Andrea Newbold.
Newbold said that many people came in during the early hours of the morning, but she believes more will join throughout the day.
“I think that when people find out that they have somewhere to go, and especially if the flooding continues, I think more people may come,” she said.
Hurricane Dorian passed over the Abacos yesterday and continued west toward Grand Bahama. New Providence was projected to get only tropical storm force conditions, which caught many residents off guard when a deluge of rain dumped several feet of water in some areas.
Jennet St. Vil, who had to flee her home on Eneas Street, was among those seeking shelter at the gym yesterday. Surrounded by some belongings and supplies she managed to pack, she said she was unsure how long she would have to stay.
“I think 3 o’ clock this morning, I noticed when I looked outside that it was raining, but it seemed like the water was coming up slowly off of Poinciana Road through the corner,” she said.
“I didn’t pay no mind at first because I went back and lay down because since the rain was kind of slow. It wasn’t that heavy.
“So, I got back up maybe 4:30, close to 5 a.m., and I looked outside again. When I looked back outside, I saw the water was coming up more, so I said, ‘Man, I need to call NEMA.’”
She added, “Upon calling them, the man who answered the phone told me they were rescuing some other people. So, I said, ‘Lord, I can’t even wait. I don’t even know if I could wait that long for them to rescue the other people.’
St. Vil continued, “So I just went down the road and I called my friend, and I told him to please come give me a ride by the shelter. I went out. Even though they say don’t go out, I take that chance and I went out because I didn’t have no other ride.”
She said she waded down the road to get her friend to come and assist her. She said the journey to the shelter was not an easy one.
“It was a bad experience coming here, too, because the roads were full of water, from the University of The Bahamas, water just rolling, like I don’t know,” she said.
“I couldn’t even see the road coming up here. It was a bad experience.”
She said she had never experienced anything like this before.
“I couldn’t believe it was such a little bit of rain and the water was just rising.”
For many in the Pinewood area, the flooding was nothing new, but they hadn’t been expecting it from this storm.
One man, who identified himself as Rasta, said it is just something residents in the area have to deal with.
“Down here, we have about five feet of water in the road, and probably another four inches in the house,” he said.
“We’ve got a car already stalled out in the road, water up to the dashboard.”
He added, “Furniture wise, you could expect them to be gone because all of them under water in there. Like I say, you got about five to six inches in the house.
“Living through here, you have to. It’s just something we live with every year during hurricane season as it rains.”
Ricardo Rolle, who lives in the same area, said he saw this sort of flooding with Hurricane Floyd.
“I wasn’t expecting this,” he said.
“I mean, I’ve seen this before. It happened in Floyd, but I wasn’t expecting this.”
Many people did not leave their flooding homes to seek shelter elsewhere. Jasmin Russell in Fox Hill said she has no intention to leave, even with more rain expected.
“I’m very nervous about tonight,” she said.
She added, “Some people don’t like to go to shelters and stuff like that. They just like to stay in their home because nothing is as safe or better than your own.”