Power outages, flooding in Grand Cayman

The late-night hours brought reports of flooding and storm damage in Grand Cayman, even as residents of the Sister Islands took the brunt of Hurricane Gustav.

Flooding was reported in several areas of Grand Cayman, including Newlands, where Acting Chief Meteorologist John Tibbetts said it appeared some sea water had blown in from the the North Sound. Mr. Tibbetts wasn’t certain as to the extend of the flooding.

Residents in North Sound Estates reported some water getting into homes, as well as some roads being flooded out. There were reports of downed power lines in the area as well.

The road south of Morritts Tortuga Resort in East End was reported to have been blocked by sand. There was also extensive street flooding reported in Cayman Kai.

Caribbean Utilities Company said several areas of the main island had experienced power outages Friday night. Lights were off from Driftwood to Old Man Bay in North Side and from Frank Sound junction to East End. Residents in Rum Point also reported their power being out by around 9pm Friday.

Sporadic power outages were also reported in West Bay and in George Town.

CUC spokesperson Pat Bynoe-Clarke said repair crews could not venture out at the height of the storm, but any problems which could be dealt with “internally” were being addressed.

Shelters were locked down at 10pm. At that point government officials said there were 715 people sheltering in Grand Cayman, 432 people in shelters in Cayman Brac, and 14 sheltering in Little Cayman.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service had not asked the Governor to order a curfew as of late Friday night, but residents were urged to stay indoors.

The following update was issued from the Joint Communications Service of the Cayman Islands National Emergency Operations Centre:

1. Rain bands associated with Hurricane Gustav continue to affect the Cayman Islands with rainfall of 6.82 inches being recorded this afternoon at the Gerrard Smith International Airport on Cayman Brac. Models are forecasting around 6-8 inches of rainfall. Flooding of low lying areas is expected.

2. A hurricane WARNING remains in effect for the Cayman Islands.

3. In the Sister Islands, currently, hurricane force winds are blowing from the south-southeast. Wave heights are forecast up to 15 to 20 feet, with a storm surge of 2 to 4 feet near the coast.

4. Grand Cayman is currently being affected by winds of around 55 mph from the north and northwest. These will gradually increase to near 65 mph by midnight tonight. Wave heights of up to 16 – 18 feet can be expected on the north, west and southern coasts of Grand Cayman, with a storm surge of 1 to 3 feet near the coast. Winds will gradually move to the west and southwest from 2 a.m., falling below tropical storm force by 10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning.

5. At 10 p.m. Gustav was located near 19.5 N 80.4 W or 25 miles west-southwest of Little Cayman or 55 miles east-northeast of Grand Cayman. The storm is moving northwest near 10 mph with maximum sustained winds near 80 mph and some further strengthening is likely tonight.

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