Heavy rainfall pounded New Providence on Friday evening into Saturday creating a nightmarish scenario for some residents, and an annoyance for others, who feared this could portend the kind of hurricane season that looms.
Forecaster Wayne Neely reported that 12.37 inches of rain were recorded at Lynden Pindling International Airport.
To put that into context, he noted, “We normally get an average of eight to 12 inches of rainfall from a normal Category One to Three hurricane passage over an island.”
Neely said given that the climate section of the Department of Meteorology only operates on weekdays, he could not be 100 percent certain, “but from all indications, that total could be a record, if not close to a record”.
“So, please let me use this opportunity to advise you to get prepared for this hurricane season,” he added.
“Make sure your insurance for all of your personal and business properties are all up to date and that you are buying your canned goods and other non-perishable groceries in increments from Super Value or your other choice of grocery stores, and your leaky roof or windows are repaired, and you and your family have a hurricane plan in place in the event of a hurricane.
“My best advice is to be prepared and, based on my research on hurricanes, I have found out that those who prepare for a hurricane, normally tend to fare better during a hurricane.”
Throughout Saturday, residents shared via social media photos and videos showing the severe flooding and the impact it was having.
One resident posted a video of fish swimming in the water in his backyard.
“I can’t make this up, y’all. This is my backyard,” he said.
Videos showed a waterspout racing across the ocean and coming ashore at the popular Sunset Beach Club at the Sapodilla compound in the west of the island on Friday evening.
Some patrons and staff could be seen frantically taking cover as the unusual weather event unfolded.
One man posted to social media, “Oh my God, I can’t believe what happened just now.
“I was at Sunset Bar less than five minutes ago and I literally watched a tornado start from the ocean and I watched this tornado build and build and build, and I said, ‘Hold on a minute. This [tornado] is getting big and coming toward me.’
“I dashed in my car … I thought my car was going to lift off the ground, but I was parked on the side of another vehicle and the other vehicle took the brunt of it. I was actually in the tornado just now. Wow.”
Another resident posted just before 3:30 a.m. Saturday, “Jesus take the wheel. Cars all along the airport road by the lake and the airport have been abandoned on the side of the road because of extreme flooding.
“For 3.5 hours, I have been trying to get to my destination to drop a friend (car going less than five miles per hour, smoking, etc., because of the water). Some sort of rescue effort [is needed] to assist people (many stranded on the side of the road). I parked (didn’t have a choice at one point) paused, prayed and asked/trusted God for a miracle.”
The resident said she was eventually rescued by a passerby in a truck.
Significant flooding was recorded in western New Providence.
Scores of vehicles were abandoned along major thoroughfares, including Windsor Field Road, Gladstone Road, Blake Road, Carmichael Road west, and Coral Harbour Road. It made for an incredibly busy, and no doubt lucrative, day for wrecker drivers.
Cable Beach, Rock Point, Old Fort Bay, Lyford Cay, Charlottesville and Turnberry were among areas severely impacted by the heavy downpour.
Some residents in the west also experienced flooding inside their homes. Up to yesterday, some were still cleaning up from the flooding.
Significant flooding was also reported along East Bay Street, some areas in southwestern New Providence and some parts of the east.
Early Saturday, Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) posted on social media that “due to the inclement weather last night, a number of roads providing access to LPIA are flooded, in particular, the Coral Harbour Road. Passengers traveling today should leave home earlier than normal when making their way to the airport”.
LPIA later posted, “We are advised that JFK west of Fusion is passable, however, motorists should avoid Blake Road and Coral Harbour Road due to extensive flooding. Please continue to drive safely and allow for some extra time when making your way to LPIA.”
Engineer and environmentalist Carlos Palacious in a Facebook post warned residents “this was our flood drill”.
“Let’s be prepared as this hurricane season is expected to be above average,” Palacious wrote.
“Remember to get your supplies, keep a waterproof ‘go bag’ ready at all times, and be intentional about having a hurricane/flood preparedness plan for your family. It could save your life. Stay safe.”
A heavy thunderstorm continued into last night and was expected to last into this morning.