Cayman Islands Braces for Grace
The National Hazard Management Council announced today that non-essential Government offices on Grand Cayman closed at 2pm today (Tuesday 17 August 2021) in advance of the passage of Tropical Storm Grace through the Cayman Islands area.
Government offices on Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, which will feel the storm’s impact some hours earlier than Grand Cayman closed at noon. At 1 p.m. the tropical storm is currently located at latitude 18.5 north and longitude 77.5 west 259 miles east of Grand Cayman and 172 miles east-southeast of Cayman Brac. It is moving west at 16 mph with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.
The National Weather Service currently expects the Sister Islands will experience tropical storm force wind and rain slightly later than previously predicted, from about 9pm tonight. Meanwhile severe weather conditions are predicted to reach Grand Cayman earlier than forecast, by 1 a.m. on Wednesday morning.
Acting Deputy Governor Gloria McField-Nixon notes that the most recent weather information suggests the potential for the tropical storm to strengthen into a category one hurricane as it is departing, but still within close proximity to the Cayman Islands area.
Ms McField-Nixon says that the NHMC is closely monitoring the progress of the storm over the next few hours, and it is possible that a hurricane warning could be issued later today.
“I cannot emphasise strongly enough the importance of people finishing their preparedness measures as soon as possible, and taking all necessary precautions until Tropical Storm Grace has completed its passage through our area.”
“This includes having a 3-day supply of water, non-perishable food and necessary supplies at hand, but also immediately assessing the safety of your residence and determining if it is suitable to ride out the storm or alternatively where you will shelter. We also recommend that persons have a battery or solar powered radio with them so that they can stay informed even if the power goes out,” she concludes.
Members of the public are advised to avoid shorelines and refrain from non-essential travel after dark, or about 7pm. Accordingly the NHMC advises the residents to complete their storm preparedness measures with this timeframe in mind.
The National Emergency Operations Centre, which coordinates the Cayman Islands response to a national disaster, will begin operations at 5pm, and work past the all clear. Its helpline, tel. 949-6555, will be operated by members of the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps from 3 p.m. until stood down. The Mental Health tel. 18005346463 will also be operating from 9am-5pm.
- The National Weather Service is issuing full bulletins and updates, at 1pm, 4pm, 7pm, 10pm, 1am, 4am, 7am, 11 am, etc, during the passage of the Tropical Storm Grace. These will include wind, wave and rain impacts. Details are available from weather.gov.ky and the National Weather Service Facebook page, as well as from caymanprepared.gov.ky, the Hazard Management Cayman Island Facebook page and gov.ky.
- The Red Cross shelter on Huldah Avenue will open at 4 p.m. Other shelters are being readied as a precaution, including: the Red Cross Headquarters on Huldah Avenue, George Town; Sir John A. Cumber Primary School Hall in West Bay; Clifton Hunter High School in North Side; East End Civic Centre; Theoline McCoy Primary School in Bodden Town; Prospect Primary School and the John Gray High School gymnasium in George Town. Both John Gray and Clifton Hunter High Schools are pet friendly (for cats and dogs). All shelters are accessible with the exception of the Red Cross.
On Cayman Brac the Aston Rutty Centre will open, as will the Public Works Department Building which is the only shelter in Little Cayman.
- The National Roads Authority are continuing their maintenance work on drains across the Islands as a means of managing any flooding that may occur.
- The Port Authority has instructed vessels and small craft to seek safe harbour in the North Sound. The National Weather Service has also stated that all boats should be in safe harbour no later than Tuesday afternoon.
- The Port Authority closed its vessel berthing facilities and its cargo distribution warehouse at 2pm Tuesday, with the expectation of both facilities reopening to the public on Thursday morning.
- Cayman Airways passengers are advised to monitor the airline’s channels for updates on flights to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
- Damage assessment teams are standing by to roll out across the Islands once the all clear is given.
Submitted by: Cayman Islands Government (CIG)