Suspected tornado causes damage in LC

Meteorologists can’t confirm twister

What emergency management officials believed was a small tornado hit the west end of Little Cayman Sunday evening. 

The severe weather struck around 7pm, coming ashore on the south-west side of Little Cayman. 

Witnesses said gusts from the twister temporarily lifted parts of the roof off the Light House condos, causing some ceiling damage. A number of other properties sustained minor damage to gates and fences.

According to emergency managers in the Sister Islands, it was believed the tornado was a waterspout that came onto shore. 

“There was no warning, it was torrential rainfall and then all of a sudden – boom,” said District Commissioner Ernie Scott.

Cayman Islands National Weather Service Director Fred Sambula said, without doppler radar available, it would be difficult for officials to determine exactly what hit Little Cayman Sunday. 

“A thunderstorm cloud moved into that area (Sunday) evening, causing short bursts of heavy rainfall and heavy down-drafts of air,” Mr. Sambula said. “What we’d call strong whirlwinds.” 

Mr. Sambula noted it is the season for this type of storm activity, generally called microbursts.

“Out of the blue you get these sudden spin ups,” he said. “It’s not unusual to have those from spring to summer.” 

The Caymanian Compass has now confirmed that all six condos at the Light House complex sustained some level of damage, and that their owner, Robert Hamaty, was on site when the suspected tornado struck.

Mr. Hamaty said he’s quite sure it was a tornado that went by his condo complex on the southwestern most tip of Little Cayman. The condo owner, his wife, and her aunt were the only people in the condos when the storm struck Sunday.

“Somebody said they saw a waterspout out at sea,” Mr. Hamaty said. “I went to the back patio to see what was happening and right at that point the twister passed.” 

“It actually lifted the roof,” he said. “If the wind kept blowing it would have taken it off.” 

He said five of the six condo complex units were significantly damaged, and some of the patio furniture blew away. 

“We’re still looking for some of it,” Mr. Hamaty said. 

No one was injured in Sunday’s twister.