Hurricane preparations begin

The Cayman Islands National Hurricane Committee has put all sub-committee chairmen on alert to implement all necessary hurricane-response arrangements effective immediately.

The issue of the Alert signifies that the Cayman Islands could begin experiencing storm or hurricane force conditions within the next 48 hours.

Among responding agencies, the Public Works Department began shuttering Government Buildings earlier today. Other committees have been working since yesterday in readiness for today’s Alert.

At 10am, hurricane force winds extended outwards 25 miles from centre and tropical storm force winds up to 185 miles. This means effectively that hurricane force winds have a 50 mile reach, while tropical storm force winds will impact areas anywhere within 370 miles of its centre.

Should conditions remain as is now forecast, the NHC indicated, the possibility of issuing a Hurricane Watch sometime tonight or tomorrow morning, following which the Emergency Operations Centre (at the Fire Services HQ, will become operational). And if those conditions prevail, the NHC anticipates meeting again at mid-morning Saturday at the EOC.

‘It is important that everyone gives this system the attention and respect that it clearly warrants. All businesses should ensure that preparations are given priority today so that whenever businesses close, all preparations are complete. At the same time, employers should ensure that employees are given, if necessary, opportunity to attend to personal arrangements. It should be quite feasible for most businesses to meet both of these important obligations and still maintain normal operating hours today),’ said NHC Chairman Donnie Ebanks.

Senior Manager for the Cayman Islands Meteorological Service Fred Sambula said that a high pressure area to the north of the Cayman Islands is an indication that the system will likely continue on its current path. Also, as the system comes into our area the warmer seas are expected to cause intensification into a Category Four Hurricane. From that point of view, Hurricane Dean can pose a major threat to the Cayman Islands.

Mr. Sambula urged that all interests closely monitor weather reports.

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