Danny to Bring Beneficial Rain to Drought-Stricken Northern Caribbean Islands
By By Kristina Pydynowski, senior meteorologist
August 26, 2015, 5:17:59 AM EDT
Danny will pass through the northern Caribbean Islands through the midweek and it may be just what the doctor ordered for the drought-stricken region.
As of 10:30 a.m. EDT Monday, Danny became a tropical rainstorm and is now bringing a plume of moisture and rainfall to Puerto Rico.
Stronger wind shear and drier air caused Danny to weaken from the Category 3/major hurricane status it achieved on Friday.
"Wind shear is when strong winds near the surface and aloft blow strongly from different directions," stated AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
Interaction with the mountainous terrain of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola will likely keep Danny from reforming.
"Essentially, Danny will affect many of the northern islands of the Caribbean as a tropical rainstorm," Sosnowski said.
Surf will also become rough as Danny passes through the region.
Bands of locally heavy rain and isolated wind gusts in the heaviest downpours associated with Danny will continue to impact Puerto Rico Tuesday and then Hispaniola later on Tuesday into Wednesday.
A general 1 to 2 inches (25 to 50 mm) will fall along Danny's path with the heaviest and potentially locally higher amounts 3 to 4 inches (75 to 100 mm) occurring across the higher terrain. Isolated flash flooding and mudslides may result.
In areas where rain spirals in and lingers, the effect can be very beneficial.
"A weakened Danny may be just what the doctor ordered for drought-stricken areas from the Leewards to Puerto Rico and Hispaniola with rounds of drenching rain," stated AccuWeather Tropical Expert Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski.
The United States Drought Monitor reported last Thursday that nearly 25 percent of Puerto Rico, with the area concentrated on the eastern half of the island, was suffering from an extreme drought.
Officials on Puerto Rico were forced to enact water rationing programs with the island in one of its worst droughts in history.
"Since Danny is no longer very organized, some locations in the northern Caribbean will receive only a small amount of rainfall," Sosnowski said. "So while the system will help many locations, it may not bring an end to the drought everywhere along its path."
Through Aug. 22, rainfall this year has been held to 45 percent of normal at St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands and 20 percent of normal at Princess Juliana International Airport on the island of Saint Maarten.
Tropical Rainstorm Danny will likely be shred apart as it tracks over land and will be an afterthought in a couple of days.
While Danny will fade away this week, another tropical threat is now looming in the Atlantic. Tropical Storm Erika formed in the south-central Atlantic on Monday night and will track toward the Leeward Islands at midweek.
Erika is likely to take a track through the Atlantic similar to Danny but will likely track just north of the Caribbean and toward the Bahamas.
Meanwhile, Kilo will move away from the Hawaiian islands but heavy downpours will continue across the state this week.
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