Local News
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By Cécile Lucot
    Cécile Lucot has been living in St. Barths for 9 years. Originally from Bordeaux, this professional journalist has been the editor-in-chief of St-Barth Magazine for 6 years. She is he press agent for Jeet Singh and his rock group Dragonfly. She writes regularly for regional magazines such as Mer Caraïbes and Tropical, and once or twice a month presents a synthese of the local news on St. Barths Online.
  November 18, 2003 - #10
  Saint-Barth Under Water
   For the past ten days, a tropical wave has been hovering over St Barth, St Martin, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands: a weather pattern blocked from moving north by a cold front.
   In Saint-Barth, the rain began to fall on Saturday morning, November 8, to the joy of the islanders. The summer months had been dry and the flora was in need of a serious watering. Saturday night, the rain stopped for several hours, just long enough to glimpse the total eclipse of the moon, between two large menacing clouds, from 9 :00-10 :00pm. But it was impossible to admire the stars and the exceptional alignment of six celestial bodies in our solar system: the sun, the moon, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, and Chiron created a superb Star of David in the sky, visible from Saint Barth only on the Internet sites explaining this phenomenon.
Days of rain in the islands are considered happy occasions. On Monday, November 10, it was still raining, and the local newspaper dubbed the wedding of Joanna Greaux and Kleber Questel as “rainy wedding…happy marriage.” That day, in 24 hours, it rained 86.2 millimeters (3.4”), the record rainfall in this very wet ten-day period. The next day, November 11, the local politicians, veterans of foreign wars, and residents gathered at the War Memorial in Gustavia, about mid-morning, to place a wreath on the monument, in commemoration of the armistice of World War I. Luckily, the rain stopped long enough for the ceremony, but began to fall again in the early afternoon. So on November 11, 2003, between 6:00am and 6:00pm, there was another 53 millimeters (2.08”) of rain. Things calmed down a bit over the next two days, with just 14 millimeters (.5”) on November 12, and 7 millimeters (.3”) on November 13.
The deluge began again on Friday, the 14th, with another 49 millimeters (1.9”) of precipitation, It continued to rain in Saint- Barth the remainder of the weekend. On Saturday, large waves from the north measuring six to eight feet thrilled the local surfers who spent the day out on the water in spite of the rain. It cleared up long enough on Sunday morning to allow the marines on the Ventose (a French naval ship making a visit to Saint Barth for two days) to play a soccer match against a local team.
These nine days of rain did not cause too many problems on the island. Not too much flooding in the neighborhoods, just some mud and some damage to small stonewalls. In the Bay of Corossol on Sunday morning, two small boats were found overturned due to large waves the night before. The rains stopped the work taking place on the rue Victor Hugo in Gustavia (the street that runs alongside SiBarth and up to the Carl Gustav) as well as the work on the principal dock and the road near the airport In nine days, it rained 247.8 millimeters (9.75”), or one-fifth of the annual average rainfall on the island. The last time that much rain fell in a short period of time was during Hurricane Lenny, on November 17-19, 1999, when 393 millimeters (15.4”) of rain fell in three days.
On Monday, November 17, the island awoke for the first time in ten days to sunny skies. It was sunny all day without a drop of rain, allowing houses to be opened and aired out to reduce the level of humidity in the air.
Météo France, the French “weatherman,” announced that this week would be fairly clear in spite of the return of the trade winds that could bring back the rains as well as the chance of thunderstorms
  More to Come
  Cécile Lucot
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