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Rainfall and Flood Alerts Impact St. Croix Activities, Continuing Through Thursday



On Wednesday, St. Croix experienced significant interruptions to its daily activities due to persistent rainfall, leading to the unusual quiet of rain-soaked streets replacing the usual hustle and bustle of school and work life.

The Department of Education took proactive measures by announcing the closure of schools throughout the territory early in the morning, following notifications to parents the previous evening about the potential disruption. They also advised students who commute between the islands of St. Thomas and St. John to avoid the ferry journey.

Legal proceedings on St. Croix faced adjustments as well, with the judiciary declaring an early closure for the Superior Court starting at noon, and subsequently, all court facilities on the island were shut down by 2:30 pm due to the relentless rainfall. Non-essential government employees were directed to head home at 2:00 pm, prioritizing safety amidst worsening conditions.

Social media platforms featured videos of cars navigating waterlogged roads, highlighting the challenges posed by overflowing gutters and gullies unable to cope with the heavy downpour.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in San Juan projected that the weather conditions causing the deluge on Wednesday would extend into Thursday. The NWS issued warnings for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, cautioning of “heavy showers and thunderstorms” that may persist. The aftermath of the weather system is expected to introduce “winds and pulses of a long-period northerly swell” affecting the region through the weekend, according to the NWS.

Mariangelis Marrero-Colón, an NWS PR Meteorologist, emphasized the ongoing risk of substantial rainfall across the islands until early Thursday. “The areas poised for the greatest impact include the southern, interior, and eastern regions of Puerto Rico, along with the entirety of the U.S. Virgin Islands,” she noted, pointing out concerns over urban and flash flooding, river surges, mudslides, and the possibility of strong winds accompanying severe showers and thunderstorms.

Rainfall estimates suggest accumulations could reach up to 3 inches across the affected areas, with a higher potential in specific locales. This situation has prompted the NWS to maintain a moderate flood risk advisory. Additionally, boating conditions are expected to be hazardous, with a small craft advisory in effect through the weekend and possibly extending into the following week.

Beachgoers are cautioned against dangerous swimming conditions, especially at beaches facing north, where life-threatening rip currents are expected to be a significant risk at least until Sunday.

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NOAA Predicts Active 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season



The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has projected a notably active Atlantic hurricane season for 2024, with an 85% likelihood of above-normal activity. According to the Climate Prediction Center, the forecast anticipates 17 to 25 named storms, of which 8 to 13 may develop into hurricanes, including 4 to 7 reaching major hurricane strength. This prediction reflects a 70% confidence level from NOAA’s forecasters, who attribute the increased activity to near-record warm ocean temperatures, the onset of La Nina conditions, and reduced wind shear.

The official hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. As a strong El Nino period concludes, NOAA scientists anticipate a swift transition to La Nina, which is conducive to hurricane formation due to lower wind shear in the Atlantic. Additionally, an above-normal West African monsoon season could contribute to stronger and longer-lasting Atlantic storms.

Rising ocean temperatures and melting ice, leading to higher sea levels, exacerbate the potential impact of hurricanes by increasing storm surge risks. In response to the escalating threat, NOAA is enhancing its communication and forecasting capabilities. Planned improvements include expanded advisories in Spanish, a new experimental forecast cone graphic to depict inland storm threats, and the integration of new models to better predict storm intensification.

Technological advancements such as Saildrones and underwater gliders will be deployed to improve storm tracking and intensity predictions. These enhancements are supported by upgrades to NOAA’s observational infrastructure, providing detailed and real-time data essential for accurate forecasting.

NOAA emphasizes the importance of public preparedness, urging residents in hurricane-prone areas to stay informed through reliable sources like and social media platforms. FEMA Deputy Administrator Erik A. Hooks also stresses the need for immediate readiness, highlighting the unpredictable nature of severe weather and its widespread impacts.

NOAA’s seasonal outlook forms part of a broader strategy to boost public awareness and preparedness ahead of potential hurricane landfalls. The Climate Prediction Center plans to provide an updated outlook in early August, incorporating the latest data and predictive models to refine forecasts as the peak hurricane season approaches.

In summary, with an anticipated increase in hurricane activity for the 2024 Atlantic season, NOAA and FEMA underscore the vital importance of preparation and advanced forecasting to mitigate impacts and enhance public safety.

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Elevated Health Risks Prompt Advisory Against Using Coastal Waters During Storms



With forecasts predicting heavy rainfall and potential flooding, the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) has issued an advisory for the public to avoid using coastal waters across the territory until further notice.

Parents are specifically urged to keep children away from beaches affected by storm water and from areas with manholes or flooding. The advisory highlights the elevated health risks due to increased concentrations of bacteria in storm water runoff, which can include puddles, ghuts, and drainage basins that may also carry harmful contaminants and pollutants.

DPNR has committed to ongoing monitoring of the affected areas and waters to ensure public safety.

Contractors, developers, and home builders are reminded to implement and maintain enhanced erosion and sediment control measures at disturbed properties. The recommended practices include:

  • Preservation of natural vegetation
  • Drainage swales and diversions
  • Temporary and permanent seeding
  • Soil sealers and binders
  • Erosion control mats
  • Soil retaining walls
  • Proper construction entrances and exits
  • Silt fencing
  • Sediment traps
  • Mulches, mats, and geotextiles

Additionally, all construction materials and equipment should be secured or removed to prevent them from becoming airborne hazards during storms.

For reporting areas of concern, contact the Division of Environmental Protection Earth Change Program at (340) 774-3320 or (340) 773-1082.

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Weather Service Issues Flood Warnings for USVI and Puerto Rico



The National Weather Service in San Juan has issued an alert for heavy rain and potential flooding affecting Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, starting Wednesday.

Forecasts indicate that a combination of an upper-level trough and a developing surface low-pressure system will bring substantial moisture to the region, increasing the likelihood of flooding as the week progresses.

The anticipated weather pattern includes multiple rain episodes, beginning with showers arriving from the Caribbean Sea into the Virgin Islands and spreading across southern and eastern Puerto Rico on Wednesday. A second wave of rain is expected on Thursday, with lingering effects potentially extending into Friday.

Meteorologists warn that sustained periods of moderate to heavy rainfall could elevate the risks of river overflows, flash floods, and mudslides. Residents and visitors, particularly those in flood-prone areas, are advised to stay informed with weather updates and prepare for swiftly changing conditions.

This moisture-laden system is predicted to persist through at least late Saturday, maintaining the heightened risk of flooding throughout the period.

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