Caribbean storm to eye Puerto Rico amid setback with power outages in San Juan

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
November 11, 2017, 5:38:12 PM EST

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A large area of downpours and locally gusty thunderstorms will continue to affect part of the Caribbean, included Puerto Rico, into early week.

"The showers and thunderstorms are being caused by a nearly stationary, non-tropical storm extending from north of Hispaniola to the northern tip of South America," according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

Stormy Caribbean 11.11 PM

"This broad, nearly stationary storm will bring unsettled conditions at times from Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the United States and British Virgin Islands to Jamaica, Belize, Honduras and Nicaragua over the next several days," Kottlowski said.

There will be the risk of flash flooding and mudslides, where downpours persist. The greatest risk of these conditions will be in mountainous terrain, where foliage was stripped from trees earlier during the hurricane season.

Downpours caused incidents of flash flooding in parts of Puerto Rico earlier this past week.

On Thursday, a major power outage occurred in Puerto Rico, which knocked power generation down from 40 percent to 18 percent of capacity, according to CNN via the Puerto Electric Power Authority (PREPA). San Juan was once again plunged into darkness, according to the report.

"Available observations around the island did not reveal any severe thunderstorms with high winds in Puerto Rico on Thursday," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Rob Miller.

The actual number of people without power based on PREPA estimates remains in question, according to news reports. So much so that the United States Energy Department has stopped releasing estimates on the number of customers without electricity in the wake of Hurricane Maria, according to Bloomberg.

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"Given the delicate state of repair and lingering damage outside of the capital city of San Juan, it may not take much weather for possible setbacks to restoration efforts," Miller said.

Thunderstorm winds and torrential downpours are often highly localized. Storms and rugged terrain can produce strong winds in one area, while a community a few miles away may have little wind from the same storm. The same is true for rainfall.

People should use caution when venturing along secondary roads through the countryside in these conditions. Never attempt to drive through flooded roadways. The ground beneath the road surface may have been compromised. Less than 2 feet of rushing water can sweep a vehicle downstream.

Rapid transformation from a non-tropical storm to a tropical storm is unlikely.

"There is a remote chance that if winds aloft diminish, some tropical development may take place in the Caribbean, but the earliest that may happen would not be until later next week," Kottlowski said.

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