As Cayman Islands residents made final preparations for the arrival of Hurricane Dean, Roads Minister Arden McLean urged people to find as safe a place as possible to leave their vehicles during a storm.
‘In Hurricane Ivan, not a lot of people secured their vehicles,’ Mr. McLean said. ‘We would encourage people to find some high ground and leave their vehicles. Now, it may require some carpooling.’
Mr. McLean admitted, with the strength of the storm approaching, no area will be fool-proof. For instance, areas like High Rock Road and Farm Road near the East End quarry are on higher ground, but that doesn’t mean those vehicles will come through unscathed if a major storm does hit.
‘They may get superficial damage such as tree limbs breaking off and scratching them up or maybe breaking a window. But they will be fairly secure.’
Mr. McLean said there may be some space available in George Town parking garages, but he said those arrangements would depend on what the garage owners decide to do.
Meanwhile, the National Roads Authority on Friday was calling for people not to park their cars near the Bobby Thompson Way, Grand Harbour and Silver Oaks roundabouts, for fear vehicles parked there could block roadways and impede crucial post-hurricane search and rescue efforts.
The NRA is in charge of the initial clearance of debris once the hurricane passes. Their ability to clear roads will be crucial to search and rescue efforts in Dean’s aftermath.
On Friday the NRA was deploying key government and private sector equipment, such as bulldozers, to areas they expected to be worst-affected. Much of the equipment will be located at the Bobby Thompson roundabout, said NRA Acting Managing Director Edward Howard.
‘We are concerned that when things get blown around and things start to get shifted; having those vehicles there, they could become a barrier themselves. With the water, those things get moved around,’ he said.
‘That’s the main route on the island and we don’t want cars there hampering any search and rescue efforts.’
The NRA is also asking people not to park anywhere on the new East-West arterial because if other roads are blocked, it could become a key emergency route to Grand Cayman’s East End.
They are concerned that access roads could get blocked around Mariners Road and Ocean Club, making the as-yet unpaved East-West arterial crucial to search and rescue efforts.