Heavy December Rain, Flash Flooding Claim Lives in Caribbean

By , Expert Senior Meteorologist
December 30, 2013; 3:00 AM ET
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Flooding and mudslides have taken lives and caused injuries in the Lesser Antilles around the Christmas holiday. The system causing heavy rain over the region in December has moved away.

At least eight people have died and five others were injured in St. Vincent and the Grenadines alone, sources told the Associated Press this week.

Other islands in the Caribbean hit hard by deadly and/or damaging flooding include St. Lucia and Dominica.

Flooding and mudslides have damaged water and power lines and destroyed homes.

According to AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Eric Wanenchak, "From 6 to 10 inches of rain has fallen on part of the Leeward and Windward islands during the early and middle part of this past week."

For many areas from Puerto Rico to the Lesser Antilles the entire month of December has been wetter than average.

This is the third wettest December on record for St. Thomas and at least the fifth wettest on record for St. Croix, according to the National Weather Service in Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico, has received nearly 7.50 inches of rain this month.

In the United States Virgin Islands, St. Thomas and St. Croix have also received heavy rainfall. More than 7 inches of rain has fallen on St. Thomas. The rainfall is nearly three times that of average for December for both locations.

RELATED:
Caribbean Satellite Loop
San Juan, Puerto Rico Forecast
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Forecast

According to AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Rob Miller. "A stalled storm in the upper atmosphere funneled moisture for an extended period over the Leeward and Windward islands."

"The storm which has since broken down, focused intense rainfall spanning Monday into Christmas Day of this past week," Miller said.

Many of the smaller islands in the Caribbean rely on large storm systems such as hurricanes for their rainfall and drinking water. Most of the islands are too small to produce thunderstorm activity on their own.

The system that caused the heavy rain was not a tropical storm or hurricane.

Mahde Said, a weather watcher and business owner in the British Virgin Islands stated, "It has been very wet and cool here in Tortola this month, but fortunately not as extreme as in other areas farther to the east in the Caribbean."

Much of the region will finish December and start the new year on a dry note.

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