UWI – NEMO issues hazard update, flooding and landslide alert

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Lahars observed in the Wallibou river (Red Zone, Leeward side of the island) April 29, 2021. Photo credit: Richard Robertson, UWI-SRC.

By Caribbean News Global contributor

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent — UWI Seismic Research Centre, announced the rainfall overnight and into this morning has generated lahars (mudflows) in the red and orange zones, at #LaSoufriere.

DO NOT go to areas prone to flooding, streams and rivers as these are dangerous and cause severe damage. Lahars are fast-moving, dense mixture of rocks, ash and vegetation and water originating from a volcano. It has the consistency of wet concrete and can cause severe damage to rivers and valleys around the volcano. Lahars carry large amounts of volcanic material and may generate a rumbling sound. Where steam can be seen, these are known as hot lahars as the material is meeting still hot/warm deposits.

The UWI hazard update cautioned that “once there is heavy rainfall, there will be lahars. Flooding can also occur as the lahars can block streams and cause the water to find new areas to flow. Persons should stay away from streams, rivers and areas prone to flooding. Do not go into these areas unless authorities advise it is safe to do so.

Lahars observed in the Wallibou river (Red Zone, Leeward side of the island) April 29, 2021. Photo credit: Richard Robertson, UWI-SRC.

A press release from NEMO St. Vincent and the Grenadines with regards to Flooding and Landslide said:

“The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) wishes to advise the public of flooding and landslides in several areas on mainland St Vincent as a result of heavy rainfall.

The Red Zone can be impacted by mudflows as ash deposits are thickest in these areas and the absence of trees means that all of the material will find its way down the valleys. There are also several reports of flooding and landslides in and around Kingstown and its surroundings as well as in other areas prone to landslides and flooding.

The public is asked to exercise caution especially persons living near rivers and streams and in areas prone to landslides as floodwaters are dangerous and can result in loss of lives and property.

To be safe: avoid site seeing and stay off the roads as far as possible; safeguard your health – avoid walking, playing and swimming in floodwaters; stay indoors until floodwaters recede/withdraw; parents should monitor and ensure their children’s safety; avoid crossing rivers and streams and stay away from river banks and heavy gutters. Contact NEMO at 458-6366 or the hotline at 526-3000 to report all incidents related to this ongoing hazard.

Meanwhile, the local Metrological office says unstable conditions being enhanced by a favourable upper-level atmosphere continue to affect much of the region including Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. This has resulted in cloudy to overcast conditions with moderate to heavy showers, periods of rain and thunderstorms, especially over the southern, eastern and northeastern of the mainland St Vincent from the early morning hours.

Rainfall accumulations ranging from 75 to 125 mm (3 to 5 inches) have already occurred over some parts of St. Vincent and the Grenadines during the past 6 hours and a further 50 mm (2 inches) with isolated higher amounts are possible across the island over the next 24 hours after which a gradual improvement can be expected.

“A weather advisory remains in effect and residents and motorists are urged to exercise extreme caution in areas prone to flooding and landslides or near rivers and streams. The Met Office is urging residents to be alert for possible impacts resulting from rain-soaked ash. In addition, residents, especially in the Yellow, Orange and Red Zones, should avoid areas within the vicinity of rivers due to destructive mudflows (Lahars).”

La Soufriere St Vincent – Scientific update 28/04/21 6:00 pm

  1. Seismic activity at La Soufrière, St Vincent has remained low since the tremor associated with the explosion and ash venting on 22 April.
  2. In the last 24 hours, only a few long-period, hybrid and
  3. volcano-tectonic earthquakes have been recorded and there was no further tremor.
  4. The volcano continues to be in a state of unrest.
  5. Explosions with accompanying ashfall, of similar
  6. or larger magnitude, can restart with little or no warning.
  7. The volcano is at alert level Red

Visit the International Volcanic Hazard Health Network for volcanic ash information and resources.

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