Storm brings outages, damage

Violent storms swept through Grand Cayman in the pre-dawn hours Wednesday leaving thousands without power and causing damage to a few buildings, as well as Caribbean Utilities Company facilities.

By Wednesday afternoon, CUC officials said all service had been restored.

Outages ranged from George Town all the way out to areas of the Eastern Districts, including Crewe Road, Prospect, Bodden Town, and East End. North Side was not affected. Lighting strikes could be seen throughout West Bay and along Seven Mile Beach as well.

The main CUC power station on North Sound road was hit by lightning just before 1.30am, according to spokesperson Caren Thompson. This strike led to the George Town power outage.

In a separate incident, a Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Wharf had to be cancelled after a bolt of lightning hit a 50-foot-tall palm tree just outside its back entrance. Restaurant managing partner Clemens Guettler said a security guard at the restaurant reported the strike around 1.30am.

‘It looks like the tree next to the restaurant…got hit by lighting and then the lightning hit the closest ground possible,’ Mr. Guettler said. ‘Unfortunately for us, some of the awnings, which have metal frames, were affected by it and it burnt a hole in them.

‘The receptacles on the sea side patio, the lids blew off. All telephones and handsets are gone.’

Mr. Guettler said the strike may have been responsible for a transformer on a light pole blowing out in the restaurant parking lot. That transformer had to be replaced by CUC. He said the restaurant, which was having its salsa dance night, had closed about 45 minutes before lightning struck. No one was hurt.

He expected the Wharf would be up and running again Wednesday night or Thursday and congratulated CUC on its quick work in restoring power to his business in the wake of the fierce storm.

‘The lightning was all over the place, even in West Bay and everywhere,’ Mr. Guettler said.

At least one other lightning strike was reported by CUC.

Company officials said a power line between its power plant and the South Sound substation was hit sometime in the early morning hours.

Again, there were no injuries reported.

There were reports of other lightning strikes on island, but the Caymanian Compass could not confirm those by press time.

Several government-run agencies including the Health Services Authority, the National Roads Authority and Radio Cayman reported computer systems outages Wednesday. But it was not immediately clear whether those outages had anything to do with the storm.

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