BREAKING NEWS:Cayman Hurricane Watch Lifted

With Ernesto now downgraded to a tropical storm, the Cayman Islands National Hurricane Committee at its 4:30 pm meeting today lifted its Hurricane Watch for the Cayman Islands with effect from 6pm. The NHC, however, instituted a tropical storm watch for the Sister Islands at the same time.

National Hurricane Center in Miami

Meteorologist Michael Brennan works at a computer Sunday, Aug. 27, 2006 at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Hurricane Ernesto, shown as the red swirl on the map, became the first hurricane of the Atlantic season Sunday. Photo: AP

Though the system, forecast to travel in a north-westerly trajectory over the next 24 hours, does not realistically pose danger to Grand Cayman, the NHC continued to maintain caution with respect to the Sister Islands, given their location. At 4 pm, the National Hurricane Center in Miami, placed the system very close to the southwestern tip of Haiti.

The Miami agency forecast that the centre of Ernesto ill pass very near the southwestern tip of Haiti this afternoon or early evening and be near the southeastern coast of Cuba Monday morning. Ernesto is expected to strengthen after it moves away from southwestern Haiti and it could regain hurricane status before it reaches the south coast of eastern Cuba tomorrow morning.

Based on that scenario and other aspects of the 4 pm advisory, the Cayman
Islands Weather Service forecasts that by early Monday afternoon all three
islands will begin to experience winds at around 15 to 20 mph, blowing in a
west northwesterly direction.

Seas on the western side of the islands, including Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman, will be rough, with wave heights of six to eight feet. In terms of rainfall, all islands will experience intermittent bands that are not expected to exceed a maximum of about half an inch per day through Tuesday afternoon. This level of rainfall is not anticipated to disrupt the workday and businesses and schools should continue as normal.

In light of the Tropical Storm Watch, residents of the Sister Islands should maintain their level of preparedness. The NHC will continue to monitor the situation and will provide further guidance, if needed, for the 7:00 p.m. local news.Ernesto has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm by the Hurricane Center in Miami.

At 4pm Tropical Storm Ernesto was at Latitude 18.0 North and Longitude 74.5 West. This position is very near the southwestern tip of Haiti. The Cayman Islands remains under a Hurricane Watch until further notice. Ernesto is moving toward the northwest near eight miles an hour and the general motion is expected for the next 24 hours.

On this track the centre will move away from southwestern Haiti tonight and be near the southern coast of eastern Cuba Monday morning.
Maximum sustained winds have decreased to nearly 60 miles per hour, with higher gusts. Ernesto is forecast to strengthen after it moves away from Haiti and could regain hurricane status before it reaches the south cost of eastern Cuba
tomorrow. Central pressure is up at 1004mb.

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