Cold front brings Christmas winds early

An early-season cold front will bring blustery conditions and lower temperatures to Grand Cayman until the middle of this week, with another bout of cooler weather possible next weekend.

The cold front arrived over the weekend and by Monday brought overcast skies, northeast winds of 23 mph to 28 mph, temperatures in the low 70s, and rough seas of 6 feet to 8 feet. A small craft warning is in effect through Tuesday night.

Gilbert Miller of the Cayman Islands National Weather Service said the cold front was occurring a little earlier than normal.

“But we do get cold fronts coming down this time of year,” he said. “It just so happens that this one came down with a fairly strong area of high pressure, which has created some stronger winds.”

Red Sail Sports canceled its Stingray City trips on Monday because of the strong winds but did dive trips on the south side of the island.

Although no significant amount of rain is expected with this cold front, Mr. Miller said the cloud cover could bring scattered, intermittent, light rain over the next couple of days.

The first strong cold fronts normally arrive in December and bring with them what are known locally as “Christmas winds.” Mr. Miller agreed that the current cold front would qualify as a “Christmas winds” event.

“This year has been a little kooky as to when weather has started and when it finishes,” he pointed out. “The whole seasonal weather pattern has been different. That’s just my observation.”

The early part of 2014 featured much more rain than average, even though temperatures were warmer than average. The summer and early autumn were drier than normal.

The current cold front is expected to gradually weaken and dissipate by Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning. The seas, however, will remain rough through Wednesday, Mr. Miller said, noting that it is normal for there to be a lag between when the winds die down and when the seas become calmer.

Another cold front might arrive in the area as soon as next weekend, Mr. Miller said. “The models are pointing to another cold front, but it is uncertain whether it will come this far south,” he said.