Although Tropical Storm Ernesto rapidly intensified Monday morning and is expected to become a hurricane today, it is far enough south of Grand Cayman that the storm will not significantly impact the Islands.
As of 10am, the storm was centred 270 miles south-southeast of George Town, Grand Cayman and moving west-northwest at 9mph. Because the storm had already passed 80 degrees west and was predicted by all forecast models to continue having a westerly element to its track, Ernesto is not expected to approach close to any of the Cayman Islands. Consequently, the Cayman Islands Government discontinued the tropical storm watch for Grand Cayman at 10am.
Even though Ernesto’s centre will not come within 216 miles of Grand Cayman, the fact that the storm was growing in size and strengthening means the Island will likely feel greater effects than thought, said Cayman Islands National Weather Service Meteorologist Allan Ebanks.
“As it grows, the rain bands will spread farther,” he said. “We’ll see cloudy and overcast skies and frequent showers.”
Mr. Ebanks said that the rainfall models earlier this morning were showing an inch to an inch and a half of rain today, but that might change with Ernesto’s strengthening.
“With the spiral [rain] bands, you can more often get a little more rainfall than the models show,” he said.
Ernesto is forecast to bring winds of 23 to 29 miles per hour and rough seas of six to eight feet. A small craft warning is in effect.