Today’s Editorial for July 22: Storm caught many unaware

We’ve officially had our first close call with bad weather this hurricane season.

Dolly blew past Grand Cayman Saturday night and Sunday while it was still travelling under the moniker of Invest 94L.

When the storm was 194 miles south-southwest of us it turned into Tropical Storm Dolly and began its march into the Gulf of Mexico where it was expected to turn into a hurricane.

While the system didn’t have the high winds associated with a hurricane, it did drop copious amounts of rain on Grand Cayman leaving many people with the arduous task of mopping up Sunday and Monday.

Those who had any doubts about the flooding potential of their homes and whether they should evacuate in a major storm should be very aware now if their homes flooded that they will indeed need to leave.

The storm also showed many homeowners and renters where unsuspected leaks in their homes could occur.

The storm – or the amount of rain associated with it – did seem to catch many by surprise.

The Hazard Management Cayman Islands agency didn’t issue any kind of tropical storm warnings because we weren’t under any threat of one.

But we believe the public should have been made better aware of the flooding threat the storm packed.

People that had their homes and businesses flooded don’t really care whether the storm system was a tropical cyclone. They do care that they weren’t armed with enough ammunition to make the choice to evacuate or stay.

Shelters were opened Sunday, but they weren’t used. By then, though, it was really too late. The damage had already been done.

Like other near misses in the past, the passing of this storm can act as a measuring stick as to our preparedness for a major storm.

We were blessed Sunday. We needed the rain – although not that much – and no one was injured or killed.

Those who had to face the chore of mopping up can chalk it up to another lesson learned.

We hope that Government is paying attention to the Randyke Gardens area where flooding has been a problem for many years. Those poor souls faced flooding last week and again Sunday.

Governments have promised and campaigned on fixing the flooding problems at Randyke Gardens, but so far nothing has been done.

If anything, matters there are getting worse as construction of roads and condos near that area continue to get governmental approval and built.

If you haven’t prepared for Hurricane Season 2008, now is the time to do it. The system that passed our way Sunday should serve as a not-so-gentle reminder.

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