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Updated: Delay Start Canceled; STTJ Public Schools Closed Due to Power Outages Thursday

Many lights in Charlotte Amalie remained off until Wednesday evening. (Submitted photo)

May 9, 2024 | 11 a.m.

All public schools within the St. Thomas-St. John district will remain closed on Thursday due to the ongoing power outage. Schools will no longer open at 10:00 a.m. today, the V.I. Education Department announced.

May 9, 2024 | 8 a.m.

St. Thomas-St. John residents woke up to another major power outage Thursday, beginning around 2:30 a.m., which V.I. Water and Power Authority officials said could be linked to yesterday’s lightning strike. At this point, the outage has delayed the start of the district’s public schools to 10 a.m.

In a round of early morning interviews Thursday, WAPA spokeswoman Shanell Petersen said a statement explaining the details would be forthcoming, though by around 8:30 a.m., the authority had been able to bring back up Unit #23, which was able to restore service to several feeders.

Meanwhile, crews are still trying to fix isolated power outages from Wednesday, which were delayed because of flooding and other extreme weather conditions. Specifically, challenges in the field caused difficulties in restoring Feeder 6B, whose load Petersen said was transferred to another, while WAPA crews worked into Wednesday night to bring the system back on so that it could return to normal.

While plant personnel weren’t able to fix things immediately after the strike, they were able to conduct diagnostics and identify more of what was damaged so they could make repairs throughout the day Thursday.

May 8, 2024 | 8 p.m.

St. Thomas and St. John residents faced a nearly half-day power outage after a lightning strike earlier Wednesday, according to the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority. The extent of the damage is still under investigation by WAPA crews, according to officials.

While all feeders had power restored by 2 p.m., isolated outages persisted. This latest incident comes after days of heavy rain that caused a major power outage on St. Croix last week.

The recent weather has also had a significant impact on the territory’s roadways. Public Works Commissioner Derek Gabriel reported Wednesday that his department has been battling road issues throughout both districts.

“Major landslides were reported starting around 6-7 a.m.,” undermining roads on the west and north sides of St. Thomas, Gabriel said. Traffic signals were also knocked out due to the power outages, which was the department’s biggest challenge, he added.

“Across the territory, because the ground was so saturated, the effects of the flash floods were amplified,” Gabriel continued.

The commissioner highlighted the numerous emergencies crews are facing, including dealing with sinkholes on St. Croix and significant road damage that requires repairs to keep roads passable – for which Gabriel said his team is developing emergency scopes of work.

These weather events have resulted in lost workdays, particularly on St. Croix, where crews have been hampered for up to eight days.

Residents are advised to stay tuned for updates from WAPA on outages and should also use caution while traveling due to potential road hazards.

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