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Potential for Flooding Continues Across the USVI and Puerto Rico; Hazardous Marine Conditions Expected

Infrared satellite imagery obtained at 11:30 a.m. AST indicates cloudy and rainy conditions across the region. (Photo courtesy NOAA)

A Flood Watch will be in effect for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico until at least 6 a.m. on Thursday due to the continued possibility of heavy rainfall. Seas are choppy, and marine weather alerts have been issued.

A Flood Watch remains in effect for the USVI and Puerto Rico until at least Thursday. (Photo courtesy NWS, San Juan, Puerto Rico)

“The islands remain under the influence of a strong trough [an elongated area of low pressure] that will produce periods of light and moderate rains through tomorrow across Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” according to an update from the National Weather Service (NWS) in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Wednesday. “Periods of heavy showers and thunderstorms are still possible,” the NWS update continued.

In addition to the continued possibility of flash floodsmudslides may occur as precipitation accumulates. Gusty winds are also expected to continue for the next few days.

Preliminary rainfall totals across the USVI and Puerto Rico. (Photo courtesy NWS, San Juan, Puerto Rico)

“Total rainfall accumulations for the remainder of the event are expected to range from one to three inches [with locally higher amounts] across the islands,” the NWS said. Flash flooding, mudslides, and rapid river rises are possible,” the NWS warned.

Marine Weather Update 

A drier weather pattern is projected to begin on Friday. However, marine weather conditions are hazardous due to gusty winds creating wind-driven choppy seas and a northerly swell impacting the islands. Rough seas are anticipated to persist during the weekend and early next week. Marine weather alerts, including a Small Craft Advisory and a High Rip Current Risk, will be in effect for areas across both U.S. territories.

“[Strong] winds and pulses of a long-period northerly swell will spread across the Atlantic waters and Caribbean passages through the weekend,” the NWS said. “This will promote rough and hazardous seas for small craft operators and life-threatening rip currents for beachgoers from the northwest to northeast coastlines of the islands.”

Wave height forecast for 2 p.m. on Thursday. Seas will be hazardous through the weekend. (Photo courtesy NWS, San Juan, Puerto Rico)

The stormy conditions, which have caused school closures and power outages, have also resulted in several adjustments for passenger and cargo ships arriving on St. Croix, including the cancellation of a cruise ship scheduled to dock on the island on Wednesday. However, cancellations have yet to be reported on St. Thomas or St. John, and all seaports and airports remain open and operational.

The heavy rain and winds caused disruptions to normal business Wednesday, with the Education Department announcing that all public schools would be closed for the day and Government House issuing a 2 p.m. dismissal for all non-essential government employees on St. Croix due to the potential for flooding. It said further updates would be provided as they become available. The Economic Development Authority closed its offices in the St. Croix and St. Thomas/John districts as of 2 p.m., saying normal operations would resume Thursday if weather conditions improved, and Administrator of Courts Regina Petersen announced that the Superior Court on St. Croix closed at noon Wednesday due to concerns about the safety of staff at the R.H. Amphlett Leader Justice Center. Viya also announced the early closure of its Estate Diamond office on St. Croix shortly after noon.

“The Virgin Islands Port Authority announced today that some vessels have changed their itineraries or canceled calls to the U.S. Virgin Islands due to safety concerns caused by inclement weather,” according to a press release from VIPA on Tuesday. “While the USVI’s seaports are open, heavy wave activity is occurring at some ports,” VIPA said.

Stay Informed

Weather information, including severe weather alerts and marine weather updates, is available from the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency website and the National Weather Service.

A daily weather post is published on the Source Weather Page, where USVI residents and visitors can view weather forecast videos.


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