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Unsettled Weather Possible Across USVI and Puerto Rico Beginning Next Week

Excessive rainfall may occur next week across Puerto Rico and the USVI. (Photo courtesy NWS, San Juan, Puerto Rico)

The National Weather Service has warned that an unstable weather pattern and rainfall may be in the forecast for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands starting next week.

“The outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center indicates a chance greater than 50 percent of observing above normal rainfall across the islands from May 22 through June 4,” according to an update from the NWS in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Wednesday.

NWS map of climatological normal rainfall totals for the month of May across Puerto Rico and the USVI. (Photo courtesy NOAA and NWS)

“This does not necessarily mean that this wet period will lead to considerable flooding, but [residents] are advised to review their plans for wet periods and flooding,” the update continued.

Meteorologist Emanuel Rodriguez at the NWS in San Juan, Puerto Rico, provided the Source with further information regarding the possibility of unsettled weather next week.

“In general, it looks like a deep-layer trough [an area of low pressure] will be developing over the Central Caribbean, moving across Hispaniola toward the Bahamas,” Rodriguez explained. “This feature will lift a lot of moisture from the Caribbean Sea, bringing increasing rains to the area,” he continued.

Stay Informed About the Weather

Rodriguez stressed that the forecast is uncertain, and residents and visitors are urged to monitor the weather forecast closely. The soils across the islands are already saturated due to recent heavy rain, and any additional precipitation could raise the possibility of flash flooding or mudslides.

“The key point is that it’s too early to pinpoint exact impacts to any particular area since the forecast will likely change before these dates,” Rodriguez said. “However, considering the previous rainfall event, everyone should be reviewing their wet period or flooding plans and take any necessary precautions before the rains arrive,” he noted.

While the local islands typically receive ample rainfall during May, the precipitation received so far this month has been especially high. A map provided by Rodriguez depicts preliminarily rainfall estimates between May 1–15. The total precipitation estimates were collected by the CoCoRaHS Network and the Cooperative Observer Program, groups of volunteer weather observers. The initial results indicate that portions of the U.S. Virgin Islands received approximately four to ten inches of rain during the first half of May, particularly across areas of St. Croix. (The climatological average rainfall totals for the entire month are usually around four inches in the USVI.)

NWS map of preliminarily rainfall totals for May 1–15 across the U.S. Virgin Islands. (Photo courtesy NWS, San Juan, Puerto Rico)

When asked by the Source if an upcoming wet weather pattern could be linked to climate change, Rodriguez noted that more research is required.

“While climate change should result in more frequent extreme events in general, we cannot really attribute any particular event to [climate change]. It would take a little more research to determine that,” Rodriguez stated.

Forecast Updates

In addition to the potential for inclement weather next week, the 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season begins on June 1, and individuals are encouraged to follow the latest weather conditions. Forecast information, including severe weather alerts and updates, is available from the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency website and the National Weather Service.

Additionally, the Source Weather Page publishes a daily weather forecast, and readers can view weather forecast videos and disaster preparedness video segments.

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