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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, March 2, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesTerritory Mops Up after Bertha

Territory Mops Up after Bertha

The last of Bertha's clouds head over Bordeaux Mountain.With Tropical Storm Bertha heading west, past the U.S. Virgin Islands by late Saturday afternoon, residents began mopping up the drips and splashes caused by sometimes gusty winds and heavy rains.

Better weather is ahead. Meteorologist Carlos Aneselmi at the National Weather Service in San Juan said the Virgin Islands will still see some rain and wind throughout Saturday evening but conditions will improve overnight.

“Sunday will be partly cloudy and conditions will improve,” Anselmi said.

The territory’s tropical storm warning was discontinued as of the 5 p.m. update from the National Hurricane center.

At 6 p.m. the U.S. Coast Guard opened the ports, allowing the ferries between St. Thomas and St. John to resume service. The first ferry from St. Thomas was scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

As of the 5 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center, Bertha was located about 90 miles east of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Winds had dropped to 45 mph, down 5 mph from the 50 peak winds when it passed south of the Virgin Islands.

St. Croix got the worst of Bertha but St. Thomas and St. John experienced plenty of squally weather.

Anselmi said an observer on St. Croix’s East End reported 2.5 inches of rain between midnight and 5:30 p.m. Saturday. There was no report from Henry E. Rohlsen Airport because the system was down.

As for wind, Anselmi said the observer reported a gust of 50 mph at 9 a.m. He said the airport had a gust of 39 mph at 1 p.m.

At Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas, .64 inches of rain fell between midnight and 5:30 p.m. The maximum wind gust was 46 mph at 8:37 a.m.

Weather Station Zephyr on Ajax Peak, St. John, received .82 inches of rain between midnight and 5:30 p.m. Wind gusts hit 41 mph at noon and again at 1:30 p.m.

On St. Croix, about 50 percent of V.I. Water and Power Authority customers were without power during the storm.

“We did have several feeders out at the height of the storm,” WAPA spokesman Jerain Fleming said at 5:30 p.m.

She said at 6 p.m. some pockets on St. Croix were still without power, but all the feeders were restored, and crews were busy making repairs.

Fleming said repairs were ongoing throughout the day but at the height of the storm on St. Croix, crews stopped work for safety’s sake.

According to Fleming, St. Thomas had some outages in the Emerald Hill area because a pole caught fire. She said that Anna’s Retreat also had some outages because there was a pole issue. St. John had no outages.

The V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency indicated in a press release that it had received reports of fallen tree limbs on Melvin Evans Highway, Queen Mary Highway, and the D.C. Canegata Ball Park and a downed mahogany tree in the Peter’s Rest area near the Cool Out Bar and Restaurant.

On St. Thomas and St. John, conditions were wet and in some places very windy, but both islands fared well with only smaller branches falling onto roads.

At V.I. National Park on St. John, Deputy Superintendent Jayne Schaeffer said the park did not put lifeguards at Trunk Bay but the beach was open. Additionally, she said visitation was so slow at the Visitor’s Center, it closed early.

“We sent everyone home,” she said.

VITEMA said that both the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix and the Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas remained open for operations.

VITEMA also warned that rough sea conditions continued to prevail across VI coastal waters Saturday night and may be dangerous for small crafts. The US Coast Guard advised small craft operators to remain in port until rough sea conditions subside.

WAPA activated the emergency call center on St. Croix. St. Croix customers can call 773-2250 and press option 7 or 773-0150 to report power or water problems. Customers should be prepared to give accurate information including clear directions to the home or business with the problem.

The authority cautioned residents to always stay 10 feet or more away from power lines, down trees or any apparatus that is connected to a power line. Assume all lines are energized and immediately report any downed lines or problems to the emergency numbers.

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