Ike draws attention

Category 2 Hurricane Ike continued to head in a west-southwest direction on Saturday morning, bringing its forecast track closer to the Cayman Islands.

The storm is expected assume a more westerly track today, before gradually gaining some northerly element in its path tomorrow.

Still, the official forecast track of the National Hurricane Center in Miami has the southern periphery of the three-day forecast cone coming very close to the Sister Islands on Monday.

Some computer guidance models predict Ike to cross Cuba and enter the northwest Caribbean, although none of the models show its centre coming as far south as the Sister Islands.

However, even Grand Cayman is expected to feel the impacts of Ike on Monday and Tuesday. The Cayman Islands National Weather Service forecast calls for winds out of the west at 10 to 15 knots (11 – 17 mph) on Monday, bringing waves of three to five feet.

Tuesday’s forecast calls for winds out the southwest at 20 to 25 knots (23 to 28 mph), with waves at six to nine feet and scattered heavy thunder showers.

Ike has the attention of the Cayman Islands government.

‘The National Weather Service and Hazard Management Cayman Islands are closely monitoring the progress of Hurricane Ike,’ said Simon Boxall of the Hazard Management C.I. ‘The next bulletin will be issued at 4pm (Saturday).’

Ike was as strong Category 2 hurricane with winds of 110 mph on Saturday afternoon as it approached the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is expected to strengthen to a major Category 3 hurricane with 120mph winds before making landfall in Cuba tomorrow night.

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