GT drenched, Radio Cayman gets zapped

George Town received 2.67 inches of rain between 1pm and 7pm Wednesday, causing flooding in low-lying residential areas.

gt drenched

Erica White and son Rasean watch on as flood water inches higher at their unit on the Linford Pierson Highway and Music Close Wednesday afternoon. Wednesdays deluge dumped 2.67 inches of rain on areas around George Town, although outlying areas reported little or no rain.
Photo: James Dimond

In addition to the heavy rainfall, Radio Cayman in George Town sustained damage from a lightning strike during the storm.

Although it poured in George Town for most of the afternoon, other parts of Grand Cayman – like West Bay and North Side – received little or no rain.

‘It was a rain cloud running down the middle of the island,’ said National Weather Services forecaster Alan Ebanks, adding that those kinds rain patterns were typical in summertime.

‘It was aided by an upper level trough,’ he said.

Certain residential areas in George Town experienced flooding. Randyke Gardens resident James Bodden had severe flooding in his yard and even had one inch of water come into his house.

In addition to the heavy rain, waterspouts formed Wednesday and at least one lightning strike was reported to have caused damage in George Town.

Radio Cayman’s satellite receiver and newsroom production board were damaged when a bolt of lightning struck at or near the facility sometime between 3.30-4pm. No one was hurt.

‘The equipment started to sizzle, and there was a burning smell,’ said Director of Broadcasting Norma McField. ‘We assume it was because of the lightning.’

The damage did not affect the station’s on-air product. Ms McField said the newsroom production console was replaced with a back up unit and a new satellite receiver was ordered and was expected to arrive Thursday.

The station uses the satellite to pick up news feeds and other broadcasts from the British Broadcasting Corporation, including a BBC news segment, which airs nightly during the station’s 6pm broadcast.

Ms McField said newsroom employees were able to pick up the news broadcast for last night’s cast off the Internet.

‘This isn’t the first time the BBC receiver has been struck,’ she said.

The on-air signal was never affected because Radio Cayman actually transmits from a tower at Northward. The radio tower next to the station’s George Town office is not used by the station except in emergencies

Wednesday’s rain had nothing to do with two tropical waves that are expected to affect Cayman weather through the early part of next week.

The first wave was expected to bring rain and breezy conditions through the area through today.

Mr. Ebanks said computer models were showing about a half-inch of rain with that system.

A second system, associated with a strong tropical wave that has been identified as Invest 94L, is forecasted to bring another two to three inches of rain starting on Saturday, Mr. Ebanks said. Winds of 15 to 20 knots out of the east-southeast will make for rough seas starting on Saturday, he added.

Invest 94L still has the potential to develop into a tropical cyclone; however Mr. Ebanks said it was rare for a storm that had such a high forward speed to develop. As of Thursday, the wave was moving westward at 20 to 25 miles per hour.

Mr. Ebanks said systems moving at that speed create sheer-like conditions that hinder development. However, if the system were to slow down, the sea surface temperatures in the Caribbean were conducive to development.

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