Downpour causes little damage across V.I.


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ST. THOMAS - While the territory was soaked by Friday's end, it suffered little damage from the 24-hour downpour brought by a large low pressure system that moved over the Virgin Islands on Thursday night and Friday.

The showers were a result of a tropical wave that was over western Puerto Rico and Hispaniola on Friday evening, and was moving west-northwest at the time, according to meteorologists with the National Weather Service in San Juan.

The storm system still posed a threat of developing into a tropical storm, but forecasters said that would happen only when the system was well west of the Virgin Islands.

Still, the wave brought plenty of rain that began falling on the territory Thursday night and continued throughout the day Friday, prompting flash flood watch alerts.

V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Christine Lett said the agency had received no reports of damage as of Friday afternoon, though it received a few reports of downed trees and flooding on St. Thomas.

V.I. Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls said no significant damage was caused by the storm.

"We don't have any damages to report, just typical areas of flooding," he said.

Estate Thomas on St. Thomas and Melvin Evans Highway and Queen Mary Highway on St. Croix saw the worst flooding, he said.

Many of the businesses on both islands closed early, including the V.I. Superior Court, which shut down about 3 p.m. Friday after an announcement from Presiding Judge Michael Dunston.

Although no cruise calls were scheduled for Friday or today, the weather system had a peripheral effect on at least one ship.

The Carnival Liberty cruise ship will dock in St. Thomas on Monday instead of Tuesday, according to West Indian Co. President and CEO Joseph Boschulte, who said that the ship is trying to avoid the storm when it hits the Bahamas early next week.

Despite the Friday morning deluge that saw several inches of rain dumped on St. Thomas and St. Croix, the V.I. Water and Power Authority also remained relatively unscathed by the weather.

Power went down in isolated areas throughout the day, but by Friday night mostly everything was restored, WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. said.

"We had no major issues," Hodge said.

The saturated ground led to trees toppling over, some of which took down power lines as they fell.

"There were no generation issues. Everything was out in the field," Hodge said.

In Hull Bay on St. Thomas, a pole came down, blocking the road and knocking out power to portions of the neighborhood. While Hodge could not pinpoint how many poles were knocked down Friday, he said it was only one or two.

Cruz Bay, St. John, lost power in some areas as well, according to Hodge.

Gallows Bay in St. Croix was out for a large part of the day and in the rainforest on St. Croix, some "tree wire" - thicker, stronger cable - came down as well, he said.

"We had nothing major though," Hodge said.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

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