Education officials did not waste any time early Monday to announce the suspension of school for the day, recognizing the difficulty that was being posed for the transportation and safety of students, many of whom would have had to travel from water-logged areas to get to their places of learning.
Ms Clarice Cotton Chief Education Officer alerted the media in St. Kitts on Monday that that there will be no school today for public schools, due to road conditions and some schools and villages have no electricity or water.
A number of private Schools including the George Moody Stuart School, Seven Day Adventist and the Immaculate Conception Catholic Schools have also announced their closure due to the weather.
Officials from the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College as well as the Advanced Vocational Education Centre (AVEC) have announced that all classes for today have been suspended.
Though a few commercial enterprises opened for business, it was not long after that they too decided to close, once it became evident that their customers and clients were staying at home and that it was safety benefit to have their own staff returning to their families.
The constant rainfall has also been hampering the clean-up exercise in St. Kitts as crews from various government agencies make the rounds in a number districts of the island to restore some normalcy, following the passage of Rafael, which dumped between 4-6 inches of rain on the island, starting on Saturday, 13th October, 2012.
Authorities have however confirmed that there was no severe damage or personal injury that was reported, though a number of vehicles that were parked in the vicinity of ghauts in the capital, Basseterre, were caught in the deluge, ending up at the Bay Road, just feet away from the ocean. This happened despite the numerous warnings from the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, and other bodies, cautioning motorists to refrain from parking their vehicles in waterways.
Officially however, only a small section of the Newtown Bay Road in East Basseterre and the Old Road Bay, in the south west of the island, were considered too dangerous for vehicular traffic. Work on clearing these areas has started but is constantly being interrupted by the heavy rains at times.
Police in St. Kitts have advised residents to remain at home unless they are compelled to travel on the road for one reason or another. Thunder and lightning have also been features of Monday’s weather activities.
At least one pleasure vessel (yacht) was knocked ashore in Newtown by the powerful waves that constantly pounded the coastline. Other vessels that normally transport passengers between St. Kitts and Nevis remained out of service, with some taking shelter at the Port Zante Marina and others being taken out of the water completely for safe keeping at a local boat yard.
Public transportation was limited in the morning period especially, as bus owners cancelled most of their scheduled runs from the rural areas to Basseterre.
Though there has not been any major structural damage, some homeowners and business places have reported varying degrees of water damage, fallen trees and power outage. The electricity supply to some urban, sub-urban and rural villages was disrupted, for as long as 48 hours in certain places; though most consumers have enjoyed a steady supply during the main phase of the storm.
Weather officials have indicated that more rain is expected into Monday night.