Heavy rainfall in St Vincent on Thursday compounded the problems caused by the erupting La Soufriere volcano, as it resulted in major flooding, landslides and mudflows.
There are also several reports of flooding and landslides in and around the capital and its surroundings, as well as in other areas prone to landslides and flooding.
In an advisory issued on its Facebook page, the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) said the Red Zone could 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.
“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,” NEMO said.
“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.”
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 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.