A tropical wave is currently affecting Saint Lucia, with the Island’s Meteorological Services warning that people should not underestimate the possible effect of such weather systems.
The Meteorological Services office says the current tropical wave is the first to bring ‘significant weather’ to the Island since the official start of the hurricane season on June 1.
“We are looking at it as the first tropical wave to affect Saint Lucia,” Director, Andre Joyeaux, told St Lucia Times.
In addition to intermittent heavy rainfall the system also featured thunder and lightning in some parts of the country.
Joyeaux explained that the impact of tropical waves should not be underestimated as collectively, they cause more damage than hurricanes.
He observed that a hurricane is a one-time event and recalled that the last time Saint Lucia experienced a hurricane was Tomas in 2010.
But he noted that all along, the Island has been affected by flooding due to tropical waves on a regular basis.
According to the Meteorological Services Director, during the hurricane season every three to four days on average there’s a tropical wave.
“So collectively, when you add up the amount of waves that have affected us, you would get some significant figures in damage,” Joyeaux told St Lucia Times.
As a result, he stated that tropical waves should not be dismissed as insignificant.
He disclosed that the strength of the weather system is based on the wind.
“So when you have a change from a wave to a depression to a storm, it’s all categorised by the wind strength,” the Met official stated.
“Debby, when it passed over us, it was not a storm – it was a wave. We did not have any wind during Debby but it formed Debby after it passed Saint Lucia and we call it like we were affected by Debby,” he recalled.
“But that system actually affected us tremendously because all our rivers were silted up and up to now we don’t have the flow that we used to have.”
Joyeaux also observed that with the construction of concrete driveways and buildings, the absorption of the same rainfall into the ground that occurred in the past is reduced.
“You have a lot of runoff, so that is causing significant damage also,” he said.
“So progress is actually causing some damage, along with climate change which we are also responsible for,” Joyeaux observed.