Flooding reported from high tides

Guyana Chronicle
November 25, 1999

FLOODING was reported in several parts of the coast yesterday as water from spring tides continued to wash over sea defences.

Among areas affected were the islands of Wakenaam and Leguan in the Essequibo River; West Demerara; East Coast Demerara up to Mahaica and the southern part of the Essequibo coast from Johanna Cecelia to Supenaam.

In Georgetown, water from the Demerara River swept on to Water Street and other areas nearby, filling drains and flooding the vendors' arcade and the Stabroek Market fish pond.

Late yesterday afternoon, the river was almost level with the wharf of the Stabroek Market and vendors and others feared that if the water rose further, the river would overflow its banks.

On Water Street, water had filled all the drains from as far back as Kingston. In the vicinity of the University of Guyana road, East Coast Demerara, sea water continued to spill over the wall and through cracks on to the road and into nearby yards.

Head of the Sea Defence Unit of the Ministry of Public Works, Mr Mahadeo Persaud said the overtopping in certain areas was extensive.

At one place, flood waters were two feet high on Tuesday, he said. Persaud said his department was working to ensure that water from the tides Monday and Tuesday was drained off quickly before further high tides expected yesterday afternoon.

In some cases, rains from thunderstorms were responsible for the flooding.

Persaud explained that it takes some time for the rain water to back up into the rivers and when it does, the rivers swell severely.

He predicted that if there were no rains, the sea defences should be able to withstand the 3.28 metres spring tides.

According to Persaud, there are about 25 to 30 kilometres of weak sea defences and his ministry was trying to access loans to upgrade these.

Refurbishing of one kilometre of sea defence will cost about $350M, he said. Work is scheduled to start at Mon Repos/Good Hope/Bush Lot/Reliance, Persaud said.

A scientist yesterday observed that every month, there are two spring tides, one higher than the other.

And at this time of the year, there is a coincidence of the moon being very close to the earth and the north-south alignment of the sun. He said that the current spring tides, lower than the last, were coming directly on to the sea walls as a result of the coincidence.

The expert said there will be a similar forceful attack of the waves on the walls on December 22 and January 21 when an eclipse is expected.

Chief Hydromet Officer, Mr Dilip Jaigopaul, said there was no severe weather on the coast yesterday.

High spring tides will continue today at 3.02 metres and 3.21 metres and these are expected to go on until tomorrow.

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