Flooding in Dominican Republic – unprecedented downpour killed more than 20 people

Powódź na Dominikanie

Located on a beautiful Caribbean island, the Dominican Republic was ravaged by heavy rainfall over the past weekend. Days off from school and work have been declared due to heavy rains. A rushing river flowed through the streets of the cities, tearing down bridges, destroying roads and encroaching on homes. Thousands of people had to seek shelter in the mountains, and more than 20 lost their lives. Could the flooding in the Dominican Republic have been predicted?

Heavy rain caused flooding in Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is the second largest country in the Caribbean Sea. It is located on the island of Hispaniola, which lies next to Haiti. The rainy season there lasts from May to October (or November) and during this period the country is hit by floods, hurricanes and cyclones every year. Later, however, from November to April, the weather usually improves and allows tourism to flourish.

This time, there was a tropical depression at the end of the rainy season, on November 18. It is a cyclone with wind speeds of up to 17 m/s. It has brought humid air masses to Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, causing torrential rains. According to data from ogimet.com, Santo Domingo recorded 313.2 mm of precipitation on November 19. It takes six months for such an amount of water to fall on the Polish lowlands. Extremely heavy rainfall in a very short period of time led to a veritable deluge. President Luis Abinader said at a press conference Sunday that “this was the heaviest rainfall ever recorded in the Republic.” Not surprisingly, they caused flooding in the Dominican Republic.

A weather warning related to heavy rain and flooding appeared on the US Embassy’s website on Sunday. A red alert was in effect in 14 provinces and a yellow alert in 11. They recommended seeking shelter in higher places and avoiding bridges or traveling over floodwaters. Synopticians predicted that the situation would calm down on Tuesday, November 21.

Fatal accidents

Flooding in the Dominican Republic has contributed to the deaths of at least 20 people. Among them were 3 children. Dangerous situations involving damage to bridges and roads became the immediate cause. In the country’s capital, Santo Domingo, on the main Febrero Avenue 27, a mass of water led to the collapse of a highway tunnel wall. Elements of the structure crushed the cars in the tunnel. Nine people died under the rubble, including four Puerto Ricans. President Abinader published the following post on X (formerly Twitter):

“We are deeply shocked by the deaths of the victims of the heavy rains. We join in solidarity with the families affected by this difficult situation. We offer unconditional support to all those affected.”

Flooding in Dominican Republic through the eyes of witnesses

According to information provided by the Center for Emergency Operations(COE), the flood wave inundated and destroyed 2,600. homes, damaged power and telecommunications lines and many roads. More than 13,000. residents had to leave their homes and flee to a safer place, usually the mountains. Persons to safe places. Dominican Republic civil defense crews joined the rescue operation. The situation was documented in real time by eyewitnesses, posting videos on social media. The footage shows streets flooded with water that carries away cars and encroaches on the lower floors of buildings.

The element has wreaked havoc in many parts of the country. In the province of San Jose de Ocoa, a bridge connecting two parts of the same municipality has collapsed. In Baoruco, the Manguito River overflowed its banks and cut off the surrounding villages. In many regions, authorities recommended avoiding being near rivers and ravines, as water could spill out of the riverbed at any time. The Ministry of Public Works provided assistance to residents of the areas most affected by the Dominican Republic’s flooding.

Catastrophic element threatens tourism

During the winter season, the Dominican Republic is one of the most popular tourist destinations. No wonder, since the daytime temperature there is 28°C and there is little rainfall. Unfortunately, recent events have put the 2023/24 season in doubt. Flooding in the Dominican Republic has made the situation there critical. The effects of the surge require long-term repairs and it is not yet clear when they will be dealt with. The information provided by local authorities and emergency services should serve as a guide for those planning to travel to this beautiful island in the coming weeks.

In the past week, heavy rains causing floods, also hit the United Arab Emirates, you can read about it in the article:“Dubai – heavy rainfall and floods“.

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