Gustav looms

Tropical Storm Gustav emerged in the northwest Caribbean Sea this morning after battering Jamaica yesterday.

Cayman Barc prepares for the arrival of Gustav

Cayman Barc prepares for the arrival of Gustav.
Photo: Ed Beaty

Computer models were in good agreement that the center of Gustav would pass somewhere between Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands. The official forecast track from the National Hurricane Center in Miami at 7am predicts the eye of Gustav to pass over or just north of Grand Cayman; however several other models have shifted the track of the centre of the storm closer to Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.

Regardless of the exact track, all of the Cayman Islands will begin feeling the effects of Gustav today, with the Sister Islands beginning to experience tropical storm force winds around 1pm and with Grand Cayman feeling tropical storm force winds between 7pm and 8pm tonight. Heavy rain and rough surf will accompany the storm.

Tropical Storm Gustav

Tropical Storm Gustav. Image: Accuweather

Although Gustav was still a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph, it is expected to intensify over the warm waters of the northwest Caribbean to at least Category 1 hurricane strength before it reaches the Cayman Islands.

As of 7am today, Gustav was 320 miles east-southeast of Grand Cayman and moving west-northwest at 8 mph. The storm is expected to turn more to the northwest at some point before tomorrow as a high pressure ridge to the north weakens. Whether or not Gustav comes closer to Grand Cayman or Cayman Brac will depend largely on the timing of its track shift.