Nov. 8, 2004 Look for heavy rain through Friday, with the worst beginning on Tuesday, Todd Kimberlain, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in San Juan, said Monday.
"There's a rather complex weather system developing," he said.
It starts with lots of low-level moisture coming up from the Lesser Antilles; add a broad low-pressure area over the southwest Caribbean Sea that should reach the region within a couple of days and you've got the potential for some very heavy rain across the area.
Kimberlain said he's not sure yet how much rain will fall, but the Virgin Islands should look for some very wet weather.
"The rain will be more on than off," he said.
He said Monday will be "touch and go."
And don't rule out a tropical depression or storm.
"But if it should form into a tropical cyclone, it wouldn't be organized, but there would be a flood potential," he said.
While we are getting toward the end of the June 1 through Nov. 30 hurricane season, Virgin Islands residents remember that Hurricane Lenny visited on Nov. 16, 1999. Hurricane Lenny packed 150-mph winds. St. Croix caught the brunt of the storm, but St. Thomas and St. John also saw power and phone outages as well as downed trees.
Dubbed Wrong Way Lenny, this late-season storm came from the south-southwest, an unexpected direction for residents used to looking eastward for danger.
On Nov. 5, 1984, Tropical Storm Klaus came from the southwest with winds that reached 45 to 50 mph. The storm caused flooding as well as major damage to the marine industry.
While some tourists will no doubt grumble about canceling their beach days, Monday's rainy weather also put a crimp in the territory's busy construction industry.
David Holzman, who owns Innovative Builders on St. John, said he sent home eight or nine workers who arrived on the ferry from St. Thomas in a downpour. They caught the next ferry back to St. Thomas and didn't get paid for their efforts since Holzman had to cancel work.
"It's too muddy and wet to work on the site," he said.
He said the rain turns the dirt into clay so thick it makes gobs on their work boots. Additionally, the rain makes construction work dangerous.
Holzman said it's not always an easy call when it comes to sending workers home. Sometimes, they'll be on the job when a downpour happens. They may stand around for an hour waiting for the weather to clear. If it doesn't and Holzman has to send them home, it has cost the homeowner an hour's worth of wages for no work. And, the workers are out their wages for the rest of the day.
He said that sometimes the weather subsequently clears, but the workers have already gone for the day.
"It puts a damper on construction progress," he said.
The rainy weather should help retailers.
Radha Speer, who owns Caravan Gallery at St. John's Mongoose Junction Shopping Center, said when people can't enjoy the outdoors, they go shopping.
"We love rainy days," she said.
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