Before sunrise, the Department of Education made the decision to close schools across the territory after alerting parents on Tuesday night to the possibility, and asking inter-island commuter students not to make the ferry trip between St. Thomas and St. John.
The judiciary announced that the Superior Court on St. Croix would close from noon, but the continuous rain resulted in the closure of the rest of the court facilities on St. Croix around 2:30 pm. Non-essential government workers were asked to make their way home at 2:00 p.m.
Footage of vehicles traversing roadways covered with water a few inches deep made the rounds on social media, as gutters and gullies proved unable to handle the torrents of water pouring from the sky.
The trough that produced Wednesday’s soggy weather will linger into Thursday, according to the San Juan office of the National Weather Service. “Periods of heavy showers and thunderstorms are still possible,” NWS warned residents of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Following the trough’s passage, “the winds and pulses of a long-period northerly swell will spread across the Atlantic waters and Caribbean passages through the weekend,” the NWS advised.
"We continue to anticipate a rainfall event from today through early Thursday across the islands," said NWS PR Meteorologist Mariangelis Marrero-Colón. "The most affected areas are expected to be the south, interior and east of Puerto Rico, as well as all of the U.S. Virgin Islands. These rains will increase the potential for urban and flash flooding, along with rapid river rises and mudslides. Strong gusty winds are also possible with the strong showers and thunderstorms."
With total rainfall accumulations reaching up to 3 inches across the islands, with more possible in localized areas, the potential for flooding remains moderate, NWS says. Marine conditions are such that a small craft advisory will remain in effect through the weekend and even possibly into next week.
Dangerous swimming conditions will exist at least through Sunday at northern-facing beaches, as life-threatening rip currents are anticipated.