Rain to continue

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The Cayman Islands National Weather
Service is forecasting rain to continue in the waterlogged Cayman Islands
through the end of this coming weekend.

In a 36-hour period between Sunday
night and Tuesday morning, Cayman’s National Weather Service recorded 8.55
inches of rain.

Chief Meteorologist John Tibbetts
said models were showing another 2-4 inches of rain possible by 7am Wednesday,
which will bring the total rainfall associated with Tropical Storm Nicole to
more than 10 inches. The rainfall amounts could go even higher.

“We’ve got a tropical storm out
there now,” said Mr. Tibbetts, referring to the upgrading of Tropical
Depression #16 to Tropical Storm Nicole on Wednesday morning. “Generally
speaking, when a tropical storm forms, the rainfall predictions change with the
next cycle of the model runs.”

Rain started falling Sunday night,
when the weather system was still known as Invest 96L. By 7am Monday, more than
four inches of rain had fallen and another 4.5 inches fell by 7am Tuesday.

Invest 96L became Tropical
Depression #16 on Tuesday morning and Tropical Storm Nicole at 10am Wednesday
morning. The storm was expected to cross Cuba overnight and the National
Hurricane Center in Miami actually showed the centre of the storm past the
north coast of Cuba near Havana in its 5am advisory Wednesday. However, in its
11am advisory, the National Hurricane Centre revised the location of the centre
of Nicole, putting it inland in the middle of Cuba.

“The new position moved the centre
closer to the Cayman Islands a bit,” Mr. Tibbetts said, noting that the storm
took a turn more toward the east instead of going north-northeast. He said that
the new position brought Nicole much closer to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman in
particular, which is why the government had maintained the tropical storm
warning for the Cayman Islands.

The storm caused the closure of
public and private schools Wednesday, including the University College of the
Cayman Islands.

Hazard Management Cayman Islands
reported that Cayman Brac was experiencing sustained winds of 30 knots, with
gusts to 44 knots, which is more than 50 miles per hour.

The heavy rain caused flooding in
low-lying areas.  Hazard Management
Cayman Islands Director McCleary Frederick said teams were out doing assessments
on Grand Cayman Wednesday morning. Early reports indicated that the worst areas
for flooding were in Prospect, along Marina Drive and Logwood Way. Other areas
in George Town where there was flooding reported included Bodden Road, Courts
Road, Red Gate Road, Anthony Drive in Windsor Park and Randyke Gardens.

Despite extensive flooding on some
of the road network, Mr. Frederick said he knew of no one seeking shelter
because their home had been flooded.

“We have the Red Cross on standby,
but so far there have been no requests for shelter.”

Cayman Islands Red Cross Disaster
Manager Hemant Balgobin said that although no one had sought shelter with the
Red Cross, homeowners were experiencing some problems with the rain.

“We’ve had some requests for tarps
because roofs were leaking,” he said.

In addition to the rain weather and
gusty winds, the Cayman Islands also experienced rough seas, with wave heights
of 8 to 10 feet, which is expected to cause beach erosion along the south and
west coasts of the Islands. Seas are expected to remain very rough at least
through Thursday night. All boating interests were advised by the National
Weather Service to remain in safe harbour until further notice.

Tropical Storm Nicole became the
14th named storm of the 2010 Atlantic Basin hurricane season, which doesn’t end
until 30 November. Of the 14 named storms, seven have become hurricanes and
five have become major hurricanes. Back in April, Colorado State University scientists
Phil Klotzbach and William Gray forecast a very active Atlantic hurricane
season, with 15 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes.  With environmental conditions very conducive
to more tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic, particularly in the western
Caribbean Sea, those numbers will likely be surpassed.

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Parts of Windsor Park flooded because of Tropical Storm Nicole’s rains.
Photo: Stuart Wilson
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