Storm could threaten Cayman

If Tropical Depression 27 survives the wind shear environment it will experience over the next day or so over the eastern Caribbean Sea, the storm system could strengthen and pose a threat to the Cayman Islands.

Richard Knabb

Richard Knabb, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center, answers a phone call regarding the status of Tropical Depression 27 in Miami, Monday. Photo: AP

The storm has already killed two in a mudslide caused by heavy rains in St. Vincent.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami predicted on Tuesday morning the depression only had a 10 per cent chance of dissipating, while it had a 75 per cent chance of becoming at least a tropical storm by Thursday morning.

‘We’re definitely monitoring the system,’ said weather forecaster Allan Ebanks of Cayman’s Meteorological Services.

Mr. Ebanks said if the storm survives, Grand Cayman could start seeing some of the outer cloud bands late Thursday or early Friday.

As of Tuesday morning, the storm was heading almost due west on track that would take it some 300 south of the Cayman Islands.

However, as the system moves into the western Caribbean, it is expected to slow down its forward speed considerably and possibly take a turn to the north.

‘By day five, a cold front in the Gulf [of Mexico] could curve it [to the north],’ Mr. Ebanks said, noting that predictions made five days in advance are difficult to make accurately.

If the depression survives, it is expected to find an environment conducive to strengthening in the western Caribbean, with warm waters and less wind shear.

Should the system intensify to at least tropical storm strength, it would be called Gamma and become the 24th named storm of the record-breaking 2005 hurricane season.