National Hazard Management Council Ready for Grace
Senior public and private sector representatives met Monday, 16 August 2021, to ensure the Islands’ preparedness ahead of the expected arrival of tropical storm conditions Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.
Following the declaration of a Tropical Storm Warning this morning, flags have gone up across all three Islands and the National Hazard Management Council came together to plan the Islands’ response to the approach of Tropical Storm Grace. The council will also meet again tomorrow for an update on the country’s state of readiness.
Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI), the agency responsible for disaster preparedness, says a number of measures are already in place. These include:
- The National Weather Service issuing full bulletins and updates at regular intervals throughout the passage of the storm, including details of wind, wave and rain impacts. Details are available from weather.gov.ky and the National Weather Service Facebook page.
- Shelters 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 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).
On Cayman Brac the Aston Rutty Centre will open, as will the Public Works Department Building which is the only shelter in Little Cayman.
- Work is ongoing by the National Roads Authority to maintain drains as a means of managing flooding.
- Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) will continue its partnership with Lands and Survey to share information with National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) colleagues about areas that have the potential to flood.
- Members of the Cayman Islands Regiment have been embedded around the Island to assist persons in need.
- Travel Cayman is in contact with persons in isolation facilities and those quarantining at home on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac, to ensure any needs can be anticipated and that operations are ready for the severe weather.
- 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 will close 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.
- Persons should monitor Cayman Airways channels for cut-off times to and from Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
- HMCI is in ongoing contact with regional disaster management organisation CDEMA, as well as other British Overseas Territories, should support be needed.
- Damage assessment teams are standing by to roll out across the Islands once the all clear is given.
- The impact on Government business operations is being assessed. Remote work arrangements and/or office closures may be possible for civil servants in Grand Cayman on Wednesday morning. A firm decision on government operations in Grand Cayman will be announced tomorrow. Similarly, District Administration will make announcements regarding Government operations within the Sister Islands.
With Cayman Brac and Little Cayman currently set to experience tropical storm force conditions from 7p.m. tomorrow, and Grand Cayman from 3 a.m. Wednesday, Acting Deputy Governor Gloria McField-Nixon urged people to implement their preparedness plans as quickly as possible, and to closely monitor the weather forecast as the system has been unpredictable.
Starting from tomorrow evening and going through Wednesday morning, Ms McField-Nixon advised the community to avoid unnecessary travel where possible, in light of the weather forecast.
She also encouraged the public to stay tuned to official channels, including weather.gov.ky; caymanprepared.gov.ky, gov.ky and Radio Cayman.
The Acting Deputy Governor noted that the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) and Mental Health Hotlines will be activated tomorrow for any persons in need of assistance. The numbers are as follows:
- NEOC- 949-6555 (from 3 p.m. until stood down)
- Mental Health- 18005346463 (9am-5pm)
In addition to preparedness measures already underway the National Emergency Operations Centre itself will fully activate from 5 p.m. tomorrow afternoon, to guide the Cayman Islands response to the tropical storm.
- Soundbite from NWS Director General John available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZrNFbcwWtY.
Submitted by: GIS Marketing & Communications (GIS, CIG)