The National Hurricane Center in its 5:00 a.m. advisory discontinued the tropical storm warning that was issued for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Additionally, the government of Antigua and Barbuda has discontinued a tropical storm warning for the British Virgin Islands. Even so, in its key message regarding the storm, N.H.C. said, “Karen will continue to produce rainfall causing flash floods and mudslides across Puerto Rico, Vieques, and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands today even as the center moves away from the region.”
Governor Albert Bryan said this morning that it’s a normal workday in St. Thomas and St. Croix, meaning schools and government offices in St. Thomas and St. Croix are open today. St. John government offices will remain closed today because the Coast Guard won’t be able to clear the harbor until 11:30 a.m., the governor said.
Department of Public Works Commissioner Nelson Petty said roads were clear on St. Croix and St. John, while a stretch of road in St. Thomas — from Lucinda Millin on the east side of the island to the Legislature building on the west — needed to be cleared. Mr. Petty said contractor American Bridge along with Dept. of Public Works crews would work to clean up the road for a projected 9:00 a.m. opening.
Scotiabank, Firstbank and Banco Popular have all announced that they will be open for business today.
According to N.H.C.’s 5:00 a.m. advisory, Karen was moving toward the north near 14 mph, and this general motion is expected to continue this morning. A motion toward the north-northeast is forecast to occur by this afternoon and continue through Thursday.
On the forecast track, the center of Karen will continue to move farther away from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands today through Thursday. Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1003 mb (29.62 inches).
Karen is expected to produce additional rainfall accumulations of 1 to 2 inches across Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, with isolated storm totals of 8 inches. These rains may cause flash flooding and mudslides, especially in mountainous areas. Some areas in southeastern Puerto Rico have already received up to 5 inches of rainfall, which has caused some flooding.
Feature Image: St. Thomas waterfront during Karen (Photo credit: Herman van der Heide)