Cold Front Soaks Territory with More Rain — And Mudslides and Erosion Continue

An nearly stationary front dumped almost nine inches of rain last week, causing flooding across the island including in front of Guy Benjamin School in Coral Bay, above.

And the rains just kept on coming!

While St. John was spared the worst of the rainfall that inundated the territory once again last week, the deluge still impacted roadways, guts, homes and schools.

The rainfall impacted St. Croix most with roads severely flooded, schools canceled and government offices closed on the big island. St. John schools were shuttered early on

Wednesday, November 10, but resumed normal hours on Thursday and Friday.

Still Love City saw almost nine more inches of rain last week during a year that has already set rainfall records. George Cline, an avid weather watcher and longtime pilot who broadcasts weather reports on Caribbean Net twice a day six days a week, recorded 8.9 inches of rain at his East End home over the past two weeks.

Skies darkened on Monday morning, November 8, and except for intermittent streaks of sunlight, rain fell until Thursday night, November 11. The deluge came before Love City’s already drenched hillsides had a chance to dry out in the wake of Tropical Storm Otto’s rain event in early October.

Mudslides, above on Centerline Road near Reef Bay, continued last week after an area of unsettled weather sat over the island for several days.

The ongoing mudslide on Centerline Road from Carey Mercurio’s Upper Carolina home continued to fall in the roadway, at times obliterating one lane of traffic. Other rock and mudslides also threatened Centerline Road from Coral Bay to Cruz Bay.

Westin Resort and Villas officials continued battling the effects of rainfall and runoff on the resort’s property including water damage to the tennis courts. The property’s signature pool, which was expected to open last week was filled with mud and had to drained once again.

The bridge crossing Guinea Gut in front of Greenleaf Commons was dealt another blow with asphalt giving way to gaping holes.

The steady stream of runoff in front of the entrance to The Marketplace continued to flow and back up the waste water treatment plant at Enighed Pond. The Pine Peace basketball court remained under mud and water and South Shore Road continued to erode.

Department of Planning and Natural Resources officials warned residents to refrain from using territorial waters impacted by the stormwater runoff and erosion. V.I. Waste Management Authority officials had their hands full trying to keep up with sewage pumping stations across the territory.

Runoff near the Coral Bay dinghy dock.

Sports events, Veterans Day parades and government meetings across the islands were rescheduled or canceled due to the rainfall.

After so much disruption, residents across the territory welcomed the sight of the sun shining on Friday morning, November 12. With the nearly stagnant cold front finally moved off to the island’s south east, residents can expect at least a few more days of sunshine with only scattered clouds and isolated showers, according to Cline.

“There was a cold front that settled right out more or less to the northwest of us,” said Cline. “And in front of most cold fronts there is trough of low pressure, which is basically unsettled weather. As a result of that we ended up with a lot of unsettled weather, showers and thunderstorms.”

“That stationary front is now moving off to the southeast and the trough is to the east of it, so that takes it away from us,” Cline said. “So now we’ll have some fair weather coming in for the next few days with scattered clouds and isolated showers. Comparatively speaking, we’re going to have some nice weather.”

Last week’s weather event was the first cold front of the year for the Virgin Islands, Cline added.
With that cold front now moving away from the islands, cool northern air is in the forecast.

“There is a low to the northeast of us now,” said the St. John weather buff. “This front is moving out to the northeast of the Leeward Islands and that is leaving cool dry air coming in from the northwest.”

Winds for the next few days will hover in the 10 to 12 knot range as a big, deep low southeast of New England keeps the breezes light, Cline added.

Looking ahead, another cold front is located near Cuba, but that one should be nothing to worry about, according to Cline.

“There is a cold front now over Cuba, but don’t be concerned,” he said. “It is a weak one and there is no weather in it. That front should meet up with this stationary one that more or less passed over us and they should dissipate.”