The threat and passage of Tropical Storm Fay has served to highlight hurricane readiness, particularly the preparedness of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
From 4pm Saturday to 7.30am Monday, the Sister Islands were on a Tropical Storm Warning and Grand Cayman on a Tropical Storm Watch, as Fay passed over the Dominican Republic and Haiti and posed a threat to the Islands while on a westerly path.
The warning and watch were discontinued Monday morning as TS Fay passed north of Cayman, in a west-northwesterly direction.
‘We were monitoring the progress and movement of the storm closely, very much like others in the Cayman Islands,’ said Sister Islands District Commissioner Ernie Scott. ‘We were prepared as needed and were ready to mobilise all residents.’
He explained that in addition to information coming from Hazard Management Cayman Islands, district officials sought the opinions of veteran mariners who have experienced many storms.
He said that on Sunday evening there was rain but no flooding and winds were 25 knots or slightly higher at times. There were no reported injuries or damage to property.
Mr. Scott noted that the Brac’s three storm shelters and the one on Little Cayman are capable of holding all residents.
‘Our shelters are ready to roll if we need them,’ he said, adding that his office is fully equipped with storm supplies including blankets, foodstuff, water and beds.
Mr. Scott also explained that generators for the shelters are at all times operational because they are tested each week.
‘We maintain a state of readiness throughout the year. We do not wait for a storm threat,’ he said.
‘It’s important that the Sister Islands can respond on their own and they do have the capacity,’ said HMCI Director Ms Barbara Carby. ‘They did what was necessary, including taking the appropriate steps in terms of alerting persons and other measures.’
She explained that although the threat was mainly to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, all three islands were in a state of readiness.
‘Tropical Storm Fay provided an opportunity for us to go through hurricane preparedness procedures at the national level, including close liaison with the Meteorological Office and the Sister Islands Emergency Committee,’ she said.
Ms Carby noted that procedures include notification of the National Hazard Management Executive and Council as well as residents, and ensuring readiness for response. ‘I thought things went well,’ she said. She explained that bulletins issued to the public were based on the weather conditions, and had there been a further deterioration media updates would have increased to suit the situation.
She added that civil servants in essential departments worked from Friday to Monday to keep residents and overseas stakeholders informed about Fay’s effect on the Cayman Islands.
‘Throughout the storm watch and warning emergency personnel were also able to log onto the National Emergency Operations Centre website for frequent updates on the weather changes as they happened. At the same time the general public was able to receive current releases through the media, and to get access to the most recent weather reports at the government website, www.gov.ky, ‘ she said.