Scenes of chaos and panic unfolded in the capital Tuesday afternoon as a heavy downpour triggered flash flooding across Road Town and surrounding areas, catching residents and officials by surprise.

An estimated 5 inches of rainfall poured down on the territory in a brief period starting around mid-afternoon, overwhelming drainage systems and sending rushing floodwaters down hills and through the streets. 

The torrential rainfall was caused by a trough passing over the Leeward Islands, but there were no advance warnings or signals from officials today about the threat of potential flooding.

Drivers and pedestrians were stranded as the floodwaters rose rapidly. Panicked people attempted to rush out of the affected areas, while others, including parents of schoolchildren, rushed towards the floods to pick up loved ones. 

Officers from the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service quickly responded, assisting stranded motorists and pedestrians to navigate the dangers posed by the rushing waters and get to safety.

284 Media has received multiple reports of vehicles being shifted and pushed into structures and other vehicles by the powerful floods, causing damage. The floods also appear to have caused noticeable damage to road infrastructure.

The extent of damage is not yet clear.

More information will be provided as it becomes available.