The last thing Grand Cayman residents wanted to hear this week was that there was a hurricane headed in our general direction.
After Hurricane Ivan just 10 months ago, many people just aren’t ready for another hurricane, even one of Category 1 strength; their homes aren’t ready; their psyches aren’t ready; their emotions aren’t ready.
Grand Cayman residents might be battle-weathered hurricane veterans now, but many are still a little shell-shocked from Ivan’s brutal battering.
The threat posed by Hurricane Dennis this week has therefore caused a wide range of reactions.
Some residents, armed with lessons learned by their experiences with Ivan, calmly went about the business of preparing for Dennis.
Others made plans to escape to safety in the United States or elsewhere, not wanting to chance even the possibility of having to go through a major hurricane again.
Yet others refused to even acknowledge that Dennis was a threat to the Cayman Islands, believing the storm’s projected path would keep it far away from Grand Cayman.
As unpleasant as the prospects are of dealing with another hurricane, residents must take this, and any other, tropical cyclone seriously.
Even though the eye of Dennis is predicted to pass more closely to the Sister Islands than Grand Cayman, all three islands are in danger.
In the words of Cayman’s Head of Meteorological Services Fred Sambula, hurricanes are not just the line of their predicted path, but a wide area of destruction.
Beyond that, even with all of the modern technology available today, forecasting the strength and paths of hurricanes remains an inexact science; there are simply too many variables involved to safely predict where a hurricane will go.
This was a lesson we learned all too well with Ivan, which confounded the experts by not turning north as early as it was expected to, transforming what everyone in Grand Cayman thought would be a wind and rain event into a struggle for survival.
Hurricane Dennis will do whatever Hurricane Dennis wants to do and all we can do in response is be as much prepared as possible.
We live in an area of the world where the threat of hurricanes is a fact of life.
Our main mission when faced with a hurricane is to protect life, and we can do that by preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.