BY RICHARD DAVIES
20 MARCH, 2018
Record rainfall in northern parts of the Dominican Republic have caused flash flooding in Puerto Plata province.
Local media report that over 500 homes and businesses have been damaged. Comedores Económicos del Estado (CEED), the social service agency in the Dominican Republic, has distributed almost 6,000 meals as well as food supply packages to the affected populations, including the areas of Montellano, Sosúa, Playa Oeste, Aguas Negras and Rescate Ambar.
The severe weather struck during the evening of 15 March when it rained non-stop for around 7 hours. Further rain during the following days caused the San Marcos river and other smaller streams to overflow, flooding the neighborhoods (barrios) of Invi, Barrio Haiti, Los Domíngues and Las Mercedez.
The rainfall between 15 and 16 March was highly localised in nature. While Aeropuerto Puerto Plata recorded 272.8mm of rainfall in 24 hours, other nearby areas saw, Lueron 30 km to the north west saw just 26 mm.
The total of 272.8 mm is a record amount for a March day in Puerto Plata, beating the previous high of 154.1mm from 24 March 2017.
The next day wider areas of northern Dominican Republic saw rain of around 10 mm to 30 mm in 24 hours.
Rainfall in northern Dominican Republic, 16 to 17 March, 2018. Image: ONAMET
The torrential rain in March last year also caused devastating floods in Puerto Plata province, destroying 8 homes, damaging hundreds more and forcing almost 2,000 to evacuate.
Thousands more homes in the country were damaged the following month after further heavy rainfall.