February 2015 One of Wettest on Record

If it seems like this year you were hauling out your umbrella or dodging puddles more than you usually do in February, you were right.

“It was the wettest February on record at St. Thomas airport,” according to meteorologist Odalys Martinez at the National Weather Service in San Juan.

While weather stations across the territory recorded record-breaking rainfall, Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas recorded 8.73 inches of rain on Valentine’s Day. A total of 2.36 inches of rain fell the day before for a total of 11.09 inches in the two-day period. It knocked power out, caused extensive flooding and caused some damage.

“It was an isolated event on St. Thomas,” Martinez said Monday.

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Nearby St. John experienced only a rainy day, no deluges. Weather Station Zephyr, located at Ajax Peak, experienced a malfunction on Feb. 13 and 14 so exact figures are not available.

The National Weather Service began keeping records at the St. Thomas airport in 1963. The previous record of 3.96 inches of rain was set in 1954. The driest February was in 1987 when only .42 inches of rain fell. The February average stands at 1.43 inches.

Like St. Thomas airport, Weather Station Zephyr on St. John recorded the wettest February since record keeping began in 2004. A total of 2.63 inches of rain fell, which beat the old record of 2.10 set in 2004. The driest year came in 2010 when .37 inches fell. The average for those 11 years stands at 1.11 inches.

St. Croix didn’t break any February rain records. The wettest February on that island since the National Weather Service began keeping records in 1951 at Henry E. Rohlsen Airport came in 1995 when 4.23 inches of rain fell. The driest February was in 2005 with .11 inches of rain. The average for February stands at 1.65 inches.

While the Valentine’s Day deluge on St. Thomas was the result of an upper level trough that sat over the island, Martinez said February’s wet weather across the region came from trade winds showers.

“It’s the normal pattern,” she said, noting that the pattern fluctuates from year to year.

As for the rest of this week, while Monday was a bit rainy, Martinez said there should be fewer showers and drier weather Tuesday through Friday.

The Weather Service website has slews of interesting tidbits, including the day when the most rain was recorded. At St. Croix airport, that day came Sept. 5, 1979, when 17.15 inches of rain fell. That date coincides with the passage of Hurricane Frederick.

At St. Thomas airport, located on the west end of the island, the most ever recorded rain fell Sept. 8, 1953, when a total of 11.86 inches of rain fell. On that date, Hurricane Dolly was in the area.

In a clear indication of how rainfall varies across the island, the wettest day ever at Red Hook, St. Thomas, was Oct. 6, 2010, as Hurricane Otto dumped 10.3 inches of rain over St. Thomas’ eastern end.

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