Despite having left nine people dead and causing the Jamaican government about $12 billion for infrastructure repairs, Tropical Storm Nicole was a short lived storm that some meteorologists weren’t even convinced should have been upgraded to tropical storm status.
Minister of Transport and Works Mike Henry told The Gleaner, “We’re waiting on the final figures for restoration of asphalted roads, blocked drains, repairing kerbs and channels, culverts and reconstructing walls. This is where we’re really going to concentrate first,” Henry said.
The transport minister also said that the Sandy Gully incurred about $5 billion worth of damage and the cost to clear roads is around $1 billion.
Nicole formed on Wednesday morning and dissipated Wednesday afternoon peaking with sustained winds at 40 miles per hour, just barely over the 39 mph threshold to become a named storm, according to forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.
However, Cuban forecasters disagreed that it was a tropical storm stating that the top winds only reached 37 mph. “No tropical storm exists,” Cuba’s top meteorologist, Jorge Rubiera, said on national television.
Flash floods accounted for the deaths of two elderly men, a 17-year-old boy and a family of six.
In addition, many roads were blocked by mudslides and standing water, bridges collapsed and farmers lost crops and livestock. Electricity was lost to about 40 per cent of customers… over 300,000 households.
In Cuba, the rains were welcomed as relief from prolonged drought that had drained reservoirs and caused water shortages.
“These rains are a gift from heaven. I hope they go on for two or three days,” said Mariela Diaz, an office worker in the city of Sancti Spiritus, where nearly eight inches of rain fell.