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Unpredictable storm leaves trail of damage

Strong winds and heavy persistent rain occasioned by Tropical Storm Matthew affected Barbados today from early afternoon.

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From the City, to the north, south, east and west of the island, the weather system left its unwanted but predictable mark in a variety of ways. And some Barbadians and business persons also left their unwanted and unsightly mark.

Among the several areas affected by flooding were Bush Hall, Bank Hall, Waterford, Waterhall Land, Ivy, Bayland, Mount Friendship, Pinelands, New Orleans, Maxwell, Ealing Grove, Trents, Bagatelle, and numerous sections of the City.

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And as if flood prone areas in Bridgetown needed to be made more vulnerable, some nasty twits left piles of garbage strewn across Swan Street. With heavy showers already sweeping the area and more predicted for tonight and tomorrow, and no Sanitation Service Authority collections possible, some of the garbage was already finding its way by wind and rain into gutters to make an already dodgy drainage network even more problematic.

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On Broad Street some homeless persons braved the weather – and hunger – as they huddled under the eaves of the United Insurance building trying to keep warm and dry. They could find no refuge in a closed Salvation Army. However   after their plight was highlighted on social media the Barbados Homeless and Vagrant Society rushed in to their assistance with foodstuff.

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Elsewhere homeowners had to deal with the effects of strong winds. A tree branch broke and struck a Ryan Toppin at Bank Hall. One family at Mount Friendship had to contend with the loss of a roof. Late into the afternoon they had covered the roof with plastic material while seeking to access more permanent protection.

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In some sections of the island there were instances of fallen trees, some landing on cars, and some on homes, such as in McClean Gap, Brittons Hill, St Michael. On the ABC Highway about 700 metres from the Everton Weekes Roundabout a tree fell, making half of the roadway heading towards Warrens, St Michael impassable.

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A number of essential services were on the road. Some members of the Royal Barbados Police Force were observed making their mobile rounds while teams from the Barbados Light & Power were also on the job as reports of sparks emanating from utility poles were made.

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A few brave souls took to the sea despite the adverse weather. At Silver Sands Beach bathers and surfers made their way into the ocean. Off Bay Street the Jolly Roger and three other boats could be seen being tossed about by the waves as though toys.

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Despite the absence of an all clear from authorities, some small shops and at least three large enterprises opened for business today with varying degrees of success.

A major supermarket on Black Rock Main Road initially opened but was subsequently ordered to close, much to the delight of staffers.

A large fast food chain’s novel way of attempting to open for business was a declaration of being an alternative storm shelter – glass windows and all. But that didn’t work and it too was ordered to close.

However, St Lucy MP Denis Kellman had a bit more luck with authorities. His St Elmo’s Moon Town Restaurant, Bar and Grocery remained open during the morning and afternoon and did a roaring trade, much to the satisfaction of his eager clientele. (WG)

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