Report of 2008 Hurricane
season impact on
St Vincent and Grenadines.
• Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have once
again been speared the worst of this year’s very
active hurricane season. Our location at the
southern end of the island chain seems to be
working in our favor.
The months of June July and August were
relatively quiet and uneventful with only the
occasional tropical wave passing our way and
dumping some rainfall on the island. June was
the rainiest of these months with a higher than
average monthly rainfall total of 264.6 mm.
Heavy rains caused landslides
flooding and death.
• In the month of September there was an
increase in activity. The country was affected by
a series of waves and troughs.
• The interaction of a tropical wave and a low-
level trough affected the island during the period
17th – 21st September. Between 8:00 pm on
the 18th and 2:00 pm on the 19th a total of
123. mm of rainfall was recorded at the E.T.
Joshua Airport meteorological office. As a result
of these rains there were numerous reports of
landslides and flooding across the island and
many roads were either completely or partially
• This rainfall caused a large retaining wall to
collapse onto the main highway leading into the
capital. Two vehicles were damaged with one of
them being totally destroyed. The lone occupant
of this vehicle a 67 year old lady was instantly
killed by the debris that fell on the vehicle. The
other vehicle which was a passenger van was
moderately damaged and several passengers
received injuries. Some pictures of the damaged
and the vehicle that was crushed are included
Main road completely blocked by
collapsed retaining wall.
Clean up works continue.
Another view of the debris
from the collapsed wall.
House on its perch above
Wreckage of vehicle found
Deadly rains in St. Vincent and
• By National Emergency Management Office, SVG
Sat, 20 Sep 2008, 16:15
Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines,
September 20, 2008 (NEMO)- On Friday, September
19, 2008, as a result of the interaction of a tropical wave
and a low level trough, St Vincent and the Grenadines
was drenched by heavy rains which resulted in one (1)
death, island wide flooding and landslides which left
many roads blocked.
• The heavy rains began at about 2.00am and continued
for approximately the next twenty four hours. By 6.00am
residents were reporting houses being flooded out, rivers
overflowing bridges and landslides in several areas of
the country. All schools were closed by midday on
• In the area of Ratho Mill, a huge retaining wall
collapsed unto the Windward Highway resulting
in complete blockage of the area. An operation
was started to clear the road. Later it was
reported that there may have been the
possibility that a vehicle or vehicles were buried
under several hundred tons of debris. What
started as a clean-up operation was converted
to a full scale Search and Rescue (SAR)
operation. Heavy duty operators were unable to
reach the wreckage until 7.00pm. A flattened car
was removed its lone female occupant was
pronounced dead by the Coroner who was at
• SAR operation continued until midnight when it was
called off due to more rains and the unstable nature of
the damaged walls that were left standing. The
operation continued at day break. However, there were
no more vehicles under the rubbles.
• A total of 25 landslides were reported and 11 blockages
of roads. Ten houses were reported flooded on Friday
and four remain under flood waters. One house was
destroyed by a landslide and there were reports of
scores of collapsed retaining walls.
By midday Saturday September 20, 2008 most roads
have been cleared or partially cleared. Assessment of the
damaged roads and bridges are being
undertaken. Damage assessment is also continuing in
other areas to ascertain the full extent of impact of the
Omar’s waves cause flooding
and coastal damage.
• On the 15th and 16th October St. Vincent
and the Grenadines were affected by huge
swells and large battering waves caused
by the passage of Hurricane Omar through
the northern leeward islands. These
waves which were as high as 12-15 feet
began affecting the island in the early
hours of the Thursday15th and continued
all through Friday 16th as well.
• The entire western and southern coastline was
affected by these waves. The cruise ship berth
which houses the Ministry of Tourism was
completely flooded out and these offices had to
be relocated. The customs and government
supermarket also received some flooding. A
large number of fishing boats along the southern
and western coast and in the Grenadines were
damaged and several were also completely
destroyed. Many of these fishermen will have to
receive government assistance to get back
fishing boats and nets. The St Vincent Port
Authority lost one of its pilot vessels in the
• Quite a number of beachfront properties
also received damaged. The multimillion
dollar Buccament Beach Resort was also
• Although no official report has yet been
issued by the Government. Some officials
have said that the cost of the damages
caused by Omar’s waves could well be
more than two million dollars.
The fury of Omar’s waves.
Cruise ship berth under water.
Wall at government
supermarket destroyed by
Flood waters inside the
entrance of the customs
Other issues pertaining to the met
services and the hurricane season.
• During the year and in particular during the hurricane
season, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Met Services
has and is still being plagued by the late or non issuance
of information relating to impending bad weather. We
have at times been placed in uncomfortable positions.
• On September 19th a flood warning was issued for
St Vincent and the Grenadines at 12:30 pm valid until
6:00 pm. But however the island had already received in
excess of 60 mm of rainfall in the 12 hours from 8:00
pm on the 18th to 8:00 am on the 19th and the rains had
continued unabated during the four period leading up to
the issuance of the flood warning.
• Most of the flooding and the landslides had occurred
during the period 8:00 pm on the 18th and 12:00 noon
on the 19th. See official report from NEMO. (slide 8)
• The met office of SVG did not receive any advance
warning about the impending huge swells and large
waves caused by the passage of Hurricane Omar. Many
questions were asked of the Met Services since
considerable damage was caused to both commercial
and pleasure boats across the island. Because no
warning was issued the fishermen and boaters did not
move their boats and nets away from the water to
higher, safer ground. Many home and business owners
were also caught unawares by the flooding rivers and
• We in St Vincent and the Grenadines as
was said before , have to be very grateful
to the almighty for once again spearing
our blessed country the ravages and
devastation caused by this years the
storms and hurricanes.
Presented by: Mr. David Burgin
Meteorological Officer E.T. Joshua Airport
St. Vincent and the Grenadines.