Operations Officer at the Tinson Pen Aerodrome Shelly McIntosh says that Tuesday’s severe flooding experience at the facility and the wider Marcus Garvey Drive was the worst she has seen in her time.
McIntosh, who was speaking exclusively with Jamaica Today and gave the team a tour of the facility on Wednesday, October 24, said that the floodwaters were knee-deep in some areas, and in others it went up to three feet high.
She added that while Tinson Pen is no stranger to heavy rains, the events of Tuesday took the facility’s personnel by complete surprise as the runway had to be shut down due to inundation.
“We had a lot of water coming in on the air side, especially on the western end of the aerodrome. A number of our stakeholders experienced huge inconveniences because of the water that came in on their hangars,” she told Jamaica Today. She said: “We had to close the runway because flights couldn’t operate with so much water. Nothing of this magnitude.”
“The gully behind the aerodrome overflowed and the impact of that was felt in the form of the water having nowhere to go. The gully hasn’t been cleaned for some time and what happened was an accumulation, almost like a bottleneck situation, so it ended up coming onto the property. It almost looked like a river yesterday,” McIntosh stated.
The scale of the downpour, paired with the heavy amounts of debris led to the complete collapse of a section of the aerodrome’s perimeter fence – a first according to the Tinson Pen Operations Officer.
“This is the first time to my knowledge that we’ve had damage to the perimeter fence caused by the flooding. It was the weight of the debris that the water was carrying,” McIntosh told Jamaica Today.
McIntosh was unable to quantify damage sustained, saying that the clean-up crew was able to clear most of the debris after the flood waters receded in just about an hour and a half.
“At this point in time it’s hard to give you a figure. We’re just having an assessment done of the perimeter fence, but right now what we’re doing is a temporary repair to ensure the area is not vulnerable – because it does give access to our air site, which is a restricted area,” she explained.
By: Gavin Riley