Dec. 5, 2003 Virgin Islands residents could see up to six inches of rain Monday as Tropical Storm Odette passes to the northwest.
"But it depends on the behavior of the storm," said Andy Roche, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in San Juan.
Any heavy rains could pose problems for the territory. Roche said that although the hillsides have dried out from the torrential rains of Nov. 10 through 14 thanks to many days of sunshine, the rain could re-saturate them and trigger more landslides and flooding.
The National Weather Service said that the Big Rain set rainfall records. In Charlotte Amalie, 15.51 inches of precipitation broke the record of 14.73 set in 1984. Christiansted's 17.66 inches broke the 1961 mark of 16.98 inches.
The center of Tropical Storm Odette is currently projected to pass over the island of Hispaniola Saturday, well to the west of the Virgin Islands.
As of 4 a.m. Friday, Odette was at latitude 14.5 degrees north and longitude 74.5 degrees west. Winds were measured at 45 mph with gusts up to 60 mph. The storm is moving northeast at eight mph. Barometric pressure was at 1002 millibars, or 29.58 inches of mercury.
The system began Thursday as a tropical depression and advanced to tropical-storm status Thursday night.
Odette comes along almost a week after the official end of hurricane season on Nov. 30. Roche said that December storms have happened, but are rare.
The last time a storm or hurricane formed in December was in 1984, although some have materialized in late November and run into December. Hurricane Lili originated just north of Hispaniola and headed on a northeast track, made a loop and continued due north before fizzling out in late December over the Atlantic.
The Weather Underground Web site shows that only one storm in 1887 passed within 600 miles of Tropical Storm Odette's track in December. It formed south of Barbados and headed nearly due west.
In that same year, both a hurricane and a tropical storm formed in the last month of the year. The National Weather Service Web site shows that no storms passed within two degrees of Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands in December since at least 1515. The agency began keeping comprehensive records in 1886.
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