Sister Islands ready for Fay

Officials on the Sister Islands were keeping a close eye on Tropical Storm Fay early Saturday afternoon but said they were confident of being well prepared for whatever the storm brought.

A 1pm update from the National Hurricane Center in Miami predicted tropical storm force winds as well as heavy rainfall for the Sister Islands beginning Sunday morning.

“We are monitoring the storm and are in close contact with Hazard Management Cayman Islands,” said Sister Islands District Commissioner Ernie Scott. “I’ve gone around and have talked with my key people this morning; we’ve had the shelters checked. At a moments notice we can mobilise and get people into the shelters.”

At 1pm Saturday there was a light north-east wind blowing and signs of ocean disturbance, he said.

“We are starting to see some muck building up around the shoreline which, I know from my own forefathers’ stories, that is always a bad sign.”

Mr. Scott was speaking after the National Weather Service and Hazard Management Cayman Islands at 10am Saturday morning declared a tropical storm watch for all three Cayman Islands, saying it expected the center of the storm to pass along the south coast of Cuba and north of the Sister Islands Sunday.

Mr. Scott said residents on Cayman Brac were pretty calm about the approaching storm, but ready to act.

“We have been through this quite a number of times over the years. I would say we are pretty much as ready here as we could possibly be.”

At noon Saturday there had been no decision made about whether hurricane shelters would be opened, but officials continued to monitor the situation, he said. “Depending on what the threat level is, we would make the decision well in advance to make sure we have enough time to get everyone in.”

In its 10am advisory, Hazard Management Cayman Islands predicted the Sister Islands could expect 1.5 to 2 inches of rain between Sunday morning and Monday morning.

Mr. Scott said the main area of concern for flooding on Cayman Brac is the western end of the island, particularly the western part of the runway at Gerrard Smith Airport.

“When we have torrential rain … it always poses a threat for the western end of the runway to get flooded. In terms of flood prone areas, I would say that is our biggest concern on the island.”

Brac Reef Resort Manager Trudy Viers said early Saturday afternoon she was keeping a close eye on weather forecasts but was not overly concerned. “We’re watching it closely. We will make adjustments as it gets a little closer.”

“At this point, it’s still a ways out so we will keep watching it today.”

Over on Little Cayman, staff at the Southern Cross Club Diving and Fishing Resort were preparing hurricane supply kits for guests in case conditions forced an evacuation to the island’s hurricane shelter.

Jennifer Mills, the resort’s operations supervisor, said she remained hopeful the storm wouldn’t cause too much trouble but said staff are well prepared for whatever transpires.

“We’ve been very organised this Hurricane Season and already have our own hurricane evacuation plan, which was in place at the beginning of hurricane season.”

“If the storm develops into something serious, we do have a back-up plan ready to go,” she said.

Staff at the resort will monitor the storm throughout Saturday evening and make a call Sunday morning as to what to do, Ms Mills said.

Hazard Management Cayman Islands was due to release an update on the storm’s progress at 4pm Saturday.