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November 14, 2003

The Great Deluge (continued)

Wow - just took the long way home from Crown Bay around Crown Mountain (see this map - route #33). It was pouring again (this was around 10:15 AM AST) and there was water, mud and rocks everywhere. Some of the road looked just like a river. It is really amazing to see all that water coming off the mountain, walls springing leaks, huge boulders in the road, etc. I should have had my camera. We'll try to get some photos up soon. There are reports that we have received 18 inches of rain so far.

Here is a link to a story from the Guardian, mostly about Puerto Rico, but does mention the VI.

We have been pretty luck here on St. Thomas and St. John so far but according to the Red Cross St. Croix has been hardest hit - there is more about this today in The Source. There is also an article about school and government closings.

As I finish this it is just about noon and here comes some more rain!

Update:

Here is a photo taken about 30 minutes ago - this is looking out our front door towards the retaining wall that runs behind the house (it is a duplex with a unit above).

That wave of water there coming over the wall is about three feet wide. Last night it was stretched all the way across the wall - about eight to ten feet.

Posted by afinta at November 14, 2003 01:03 PM

Comments

Actually the photo was taken about 2 hours ago - spent some time on the phone and the rain is so hard my wireless internet access here is crawling along. It is almost 2:30 PM and it is coming down hard again!

Posted by: Anthony at November 14, 2003 04:04 PM

Be careful! Retaining walls are falling all over the place! Have some pictures to send you later.

Posted by: Ronnie at November 14, 2003 05:16 PM

When the rain started last week I jokingly asked my customers if any of them had expertise in building an ark. There seemed to be no real let-up although I felt confident that by the beginning of the week wed see some relief.
Well of course I was dead wrong. My days off passed with rain, then came days to be open and that didnt happen. The roof is saturated, the ground is saturated, my cistern runneth over and the rain continues. Ive got leaks in the kitchen, pans all over. The mop stands ready to sop up all that isnt readily caught in pans and has already gathered three 4-gallon buckets as of this writing. And the rain still keeps coming.
Customers are calling to see if I'm open and I very regretfully have to tell them that I'm not nut check back tomorrow.
Hurricanes are lousy but this rain really takes the cake and, maybe Im wrong, but the only time I remember such continuous rain was in November 84.
The satellite TV has held up very well but watching a TV commercial which features dripping water renders me a blithering babbling idiot.
And how about this, 60 percent probability of rain? If this is 60 percent, what would 70 or 80 or 90 or 100 percent be?
Anyone know how to build an ark?

Posted by: ANNA CLARKE at November 14, 2003 06:44 PM

St. John deluge update:
We are on a fairly level grade behind a retaining wall. That retaining wall saved us; the house sustained no damage, but we lost a driveway and a lot of landscaping. The island itself is taking a beating after over a week of steady rain - over 27" within the last four days. My son and I drove from Coral Bay to Cruz Bay around 3 PM today and it was raining harder than I have ever seen it rain (harder, even, than South-East Asian typhoons). Buckets. Torrents. On top of totally saturated ground. Centerline Road was down to one lane in a half dozen places, with mature trees sitting upright in the middle of the road, where they had washed down from the cliffs above, along with Volkswagen-sized boulders and topsoil. In places, the water was over the doors of our Land Rover (which handled it just fine). Rocks and dirt everywhere over the road. A house on Mamay Peak was hanging from the cliff. (In addition, one house, in Fish Bay, was lost, and one in Coral Bay looks like a total loss.) Near Chateau Bordeaux we watched as the entire side of a hill slid down and landed on the road behind us, closing Centerline Road. We returned up North Shore road, which was in much the same shape as Centerline, but passable. The storm created a new gut that flows directly in to the ocean at Maho Bay, cutting the beach in two. Closer to home, the road in to our valley is impassible due to wash-outs. We will be walking in for the next several days, until the ground dries out enough to fix the washed out areas. They are saying this was a 100 year storm. I hope so. I hope it's over - any more rain will be devastating. Thankfully, we didn't have guests this week. We feel sorry for those folks who are here on vacation and have been subjected to a week of torrential rain. But, as we in the VI know, the sun will soon-come out tomorrow!

Posted by: Brad at November 14, 2003 08:55 PM

Wow - thanks Brad for the excellent report. It sounds like both St. Croix and St. John have had much more trouble with the water than St. Thomas. We were out a couple of times today, but it wasn't as bad as what you describe about St. John. Have not been everywhere, but the East End seemed okay, and while there was a lot of water, mud slides, new waterfalls, etc. I haven't heard of any homes lost in St. Thomas. If I am wrong about that someone let us know -

Posted by: Anthony at November 14, 2003 09:07 PM

I saw a great example of Crucian ingenuity today. Coming up the road by Frangipani (which was badly flooded) a group of young men were gathered by the gut. As I drove by, one of them yelled "Car wash, mon". These guys had opened an impromtu car wash using the water running thru the gut. Since I had the groceries in the car, I couldn't stop then, but I took both cars down and let them wash the mud off of them. They were doing a brisk business. A good example of taking one of life's lemons and making lemonade.

Posted by: Ric at November 15, 2003 04:28 PM