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Authorities ‘on maximum alert’ ahead of rainfall expected by weekend

By Hana Namrouqa - Nov 14,2018 - Last updated at Nov 14,2018

GAM put its staff on full alert following forecasts of heavy rain lingering throughout the week on Tuesday (JT file photo)

AMMAN — The Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) on Tuesday put its staff on “maximum alert” to deal with any potential disruptions as heavy rain is again expected until the end of the week.

The Civil Defence Department (CDD) also urged the public to take precautionary measures and to “demonstrate sound judgments and practices” during the week, with the formation of flashfloods expected.

The governorate of Madaba on Tuesday was also forced evacuate a number of citizens who live in tents on the sides of valleys, in coordination with the Madaba Security Department and other security agencies. Interior Minister Samir Mubaidin advised all governors to take the necessary measures to protect the lives of citizens in places where floods are possible.

A state of unstable weather conditions began affecting the country at noon on Tuesday, with the Jordan Meteorological Department (JMD) announcing that the Kingdom will experience rain, at times, and forecasting the formation of flashfloods in valleys and low-lying areas.

Cold, cloudy and rainy weather will linger until at least the end of this week, according to the JMD, which said that further drops in temperatures are expected on Wednesday, when the country will be affected by a depression centred over Syria.

GAM called on people to contact its main operations centres to report disruptions or ask for help in weather-related emergencies at 06-5359970,
06-5359971, 06-5300870 or 0798166789.

The municipality put its winter fleet of 200 vehicles, equipped for dealing with and operating during extreme weather conditions, on “full preparedness”, indicating that its teams are cleaning and inspecting the readiness of manholes and storm drainage systems in main and secondary streets, tunnels and bridges.

“GAM urges people to secure items outside their homes and remove objects on rooftops that could be blown away during windy weather; we also urge them to avoid linking drainage to sewage networks, a practice that can cause the flooding of manholes and inundation of streets and properties,” GAM Press Office Director Mazen Farrajin told The Jordan Times.

Meanwhile, the CDD issued warnings to the public to stay away from valleys and low-lying areas and relocate to higher ground to avoid being in the path of flashfloods.

“People need to avoid crossing roads, whether on foot or by car, if water levels are rising. They should keep children safe and away from ponds,” a CDD press officer said on Tuesday.

The CDD urged users of the Desert Highway and drivers in desert areas to avoid driving during heavy rain and to park on the side of the road if visibility reduces during dusty weather or heavy rain.

Jordan has been witnessing intense rain and strong flashfloods since late October, as a result of unstable weather conditions. On Friday afternoon, torrential rain caused flashfloods in different parts of the country, killing 13 people and trapping thousands, who were later rescued and evacuated by authorities.

It was the second time in three weeks that the Kingdom witnessed deadly flashfloods. On October 25, flashfloods followed brief, heavy rainfall, which killed 21 people in the Dead Sea area, 16 of whom were students hiking in the Zarqa-Maeen Valley while on a school trip to the site.

Since the two fateful incidents, authorities have been taking warnings of rain and flashfloods more seriously, with the ICT Ministry on Monday sending warning messages to citizens regarding unstable weather conditions forecast for Tuesday, and the possibility of floods, according to Petra.

ICT Minister Muthana Gharaibeh said that the ministry sent text messages to 2.5 million cellphone numbers so far, noting that all cellphone carriers were to receive similar warning messages.

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