Tropical Storm Laura caused flooding across Jamaica on Monday, August 24, as it moved to the north of the country in a northwest direction. Flooding was reported in the Chelsea Avenue, Mandela Terrace, and Marverley areas of Kingston. In St. Thomas parish, a bridge has been washed away by floodwaters while the road between Trout Hall and James Hill in Clarendon parish was blocked by a landslide. Emergency crews have been deployed to clear roads, and the public have been cautioned to avoid affected travel routes. The Meteorological Service of Jamaica had issued a flash flood warning for low lying and flood-prone areas across the country, which remained in place until 20:00 (local time) on Monday. Authorities have warned that further rain and wind gusts are possible across eastern and southern regions, which have been occuring since Sunday, August 23.
As of 18:00 EDT on Monday, Tropical Storm Laura is moving northwest south of the coast of western Cuba. Laura is forecast to move into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico by early Tuesday morning, August 25. Laura is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane by early Tuesday. Laura is currently sustaining wind speeds of 97kph (60mph).
Jamaica is prone to hurricanes. The hurricane season typically runs from June through November, with August and September as peak months. Heavy storms during this time period can cause flash flooding and landslides in low-lying and hilly communities, while strong winds can result in significant infrastructural damage. Such events can also result in the loss of telecommunications and in power supply outages. It should be noted that rain-triggered floods and mudslides can trigger mass evacuations and pose considerable hazards to human life. Looting is a common problem immediately after major storms.
Those in the affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, avoid areas directly affected by flooding, confirm road conditions before setting out, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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