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News / Virgin Islands / Weather / September 23, 2019

The U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, including Vieques and Culebra, were placed under a tropical storm warning as of 5:00 a.m. Monday as Tropical Storm Karen draws closer to the islands, the National Hurricane Center made known in its 5:00 a.m. advisory. Karen, which N.H.C. described as a disorganized system, has made the predicted northwest turn and is projected to turn north, taking aim at the U.S. territories on Tuesday.

A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are likely within the warning area, generally within 36 hours, N.H.C. said.

Governor Albert Bryan, who had traveled to Washington for meetings with congresspeople, HUD and FEMA officials, was scheduled to return to the USVI today, according to Government House. Mr. Bryan has called a press conference for 5:30 p.m. today, which the Consortium will carry live on its Facebook platform and website.

T.S. Karen’s graphic display as of 5:00 a.m. Monday, Sept. 23, 2019 (Courtesy the NHC)

The Department of Public Works will be providing sandbags in both districts today.

Distribution locations:

St. Croix

  • Department of Public Works, Anna’s Hope
  • Department of Public Works, Mars Hill
  • Grove Place Fire Station
  • Cotton Valley Fire Station

St. Thomas

  • Department of Public Works, Subbase
  • Tutu Fire Station

St. John

  • Department of Public Works, Susannaberg

Schedule for distribution:

  • Public Works locations – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Fire stations – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Residents are limited to up to 10 bags per household. This will allow all residents requiring sandbags to be serviced, D.P.W. said. Access to pre-filled sandbags are available for the elderly, people with disabilities, and specific functional needs. 

Latest update on Tropical Storm Karen

According to N.H.C.’s 5:00 a.m. advisory, the center of Karen was located near latitude 13.6 North, longitude 63.9 West. Karen is moving toward the northwest near 8 mph, and this general motion is forecast to continue today. A turn toward the north is expected on Tuesday.

On the forecast track, the center of Karen will move across the eastern Caribbean Sea through tonight. On Tuesday, Karen is expected to pass near or over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph with higher gusts. Some fluctuations in strength will be possible during the next 48 hours due to strong upper-level winds. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles, mainly northeast through southeast of the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1007 mb (29.74 inches).

Wind

Tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area beginning Tuesday morning, with tropical storm conditions expected in the warning area by Tuesday afternoon.

Rainfall

Karen is expected to produce the following rainfall accumulations through Wednesday:

  • Windward Islands: Additional 1 to 2 inches, isolated storm totals 8 inches.
  • Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands: 2 to 4 inches, isolated 6 inches.
  • Leeward Islands: 1 to 3 inches, isolated 5 inches.

These rains may cause flash flooding and mudslides, especially in mountainous areas, N.H.C. warned.

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