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Charlotte Amalie
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ISLANDS HOLDING THEIR BREATH AS RAIN CONTINUES

Nov. 16, 2003 –– While the worst of the stormy weather is behind us, look for numerous showers over the next couple of days, Ed Tirado, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in San Juan, said Sunday. "But any rain now is not good," he said, referring to the saturated ground that continues to give way. And local officials and residents are holding their breath to see what more rain will do to the soaked ground on all three islands.
Wayne Callwood, commissioner of the Public Works Department, said Sunday afternoon that the torrential rains of the past week had taken the greatest toll on St. Thomas. "And there's more rain coming," he said, expressing concern that the rains falling on the already sodden ground would cause further mud slides and damage to the roadways.
On Sunday night James O'Bryan Jr., St. Thomas-St. John administrator, said two to four more inches of rain were expected through Tuesday adding that three roads on St. Thomas were already closed due to damage caused by the steady and heavy downpours of the last week. The are: Scott Free, St. Joseph and Rosendahl and Brookman Roads. However, on Monday morning Callwood announced that Brookman Road from Ft. Mylner to the Nadir Esso station would re-open to accommodate traffic.
The only road reported closed on St. Croix is Scenic Drive West, according to Gregory Francis, St. Croix administrator. However, Francis said, if the rains start again, Catherine's Rest Road and the Melvin Evan Highway, going east to west could become dangerous to the point of being closed.
On St. John, all roads were clear as of Sunday night, Alvis Christian, director of the V.I. Territorial Management Agency on St. John, said. But, Christian also warned motorists to be extremely careful negotiating the roads. "The ground is already really soft," he said. Landslides can happen quickly and with the winding roads, " you can come around a curve and find a landslide."
But Tirado said that though the westward moving trough would continue to cause showers over the Virgin Islands they wouldn't be nearly as heavy as those experienced last week.T
Tirado said by mid-week, the skies should clear.
"Next weekend should be nice," he said.
Meanwhile, residents continue to clean up from the deluge of the past week – and several are experiencing loss of telephone service.
In St. John, one George Simmonds Terrace woman called to report that an entire hillside slid into her backyard.
"My house is filled with mud and water," she said.
The woman, who declined to give her name, said she didn't know where to turn for help. She said her carpeting was already getting moldy, which caused her to sneeze and cough.
On St. Thomas Public Works crews continued to move mud and debris from the roadways, while residents attempted to normalize life. At least two parties were going strong at Magens Bay Sunday afternoon complete with balloons, music and barbeque sauce, though bathing was prohibited due to run-off.
In Charlotte Amalie concert-goers were gathering at sunset for a Kassav concert at the Emil Griffith Ballpark.
While main roads in St. John were clean on Sunday, residents on some residential roads were housebound by landslides. Others reported that they couldn't get in their driveways because they were blocked by mud and debris.
Water still ran down sides of roads, creating streams that flowed downhill to the sea on both St.John and St. Thomas, while the brown evidence of the run-off floated in several bays.

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