Weather conditions affecting Martinique today were nothing of the usual tropical showers. Although the forecast called for the occasional thundershower, Martiniquans were shocked by something most had never seen in the French territory.
The rains began late morning and steadily increased in intensity pounding on roofs across the island. The downpours continued past midday and soon rivers across the island were close to bursting their banks.
In the early afternoon hours many residents described what sounded like very heavy rainfall on roofs, vehicles, and trees. Fearing that something was amiss, they soon discovered that it was hailstones tumbling from the heavens.
Residents had to run for cover as hail continued to fall, damaging cars, homes and causing injuries to those who were caught outside. Heaviest hail damage was reported in the Trianon district on the east coast, 15 kilometres east of Fort de France.
Code Orange security level was declared in some parts of Martinique during the mid afternoon. The island has a colour coded security system – green, yellow, orange, and red.
Many communities across Martinique have reported flooding, washed away roads, and persons who need to be rescued from high waters by helicopter.
The Mayor of Rivière-Pilote advised citizens there to move to higher ground as flood waters rose in that town and were expected to rise overnight as more rain is expected.
Meanwhile an area of intense weather is about 200 miles in the Atlantic east of Martinique and St. Lucia and expected to affect the island overnight.