When a tropical cyclone is likely to affect the Cayman Islands, warnings will be issued as follows:

ALERT:
When notification is received that a hurricane or tropical storm is likely to strike the Cayman Islands within the next 72 hours or more.

WATCH:
When notification is received that a hurricane or tropical storm is likely to strike within the next 48 hours; your hurricane preparations should be under way.

WARNING:
When notification is received that a hurricane or tropical storm is likely to strike within the next 36 hours; your hurricane preparations should be stepped up, if not already completed.

ALL CLEAR:
When notification is received that a hurricane or tropical storm has passed, or no longer poses a threat.

Know what to do before, during and after the storm.

BEFORE
Prepare an emergency kit and have a disaster plan in place. Make sure all your family members have a contingency plan in case you are separated from one another.

Heed watches, warnings and evacuations. If you are ordered to evacuate, do so immediately.

DURING
Stay tuned to Government channels and local news outlets including the Cayman Compass for information and updates about the storm. Follow emergency orders. If advised, turn off any propane tanks and any other utilities.

Stay inside and away from windows and doors – a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level is the best option.

AFTER
Stay informed about further weather updates, especially rain, which can cause flooding.

Keep an eye out for downed electrical lines. If you see any, report them right away.

Drive only if necessary. Stay away from flooded thoroughfares.

If you require a generator, do not run it from inside your home or an enclosed space as carbon monoxide can accumulate dangerously.

Hurricane terms

Tropical cyclone
An organised low-pressure weather system of clouds and thunderstorms that develops in the tropics.

Tropical wave
A kink or bend in the normally straight flow of surface air in the tropics which forms a low-pressure trough, or pressure boundary, showers and thunderstorms. It can develop into a tropical cyclone.

Tropical depression
A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds near the surface of less than 39 mph.

Tropical storm
A tropical cyclone with winds of 39 to 73 mph.

Hurricane
A tropical cyclone with winds of 74 mph or greater.

Eye
The low-pressure centre of a tropical cyclone. Winds are normally calm and sometimes the sky clears. This lull often signifies the storm’s eye, not its end. You should not go outside during this time. Anyone riding out a hurricane should wait for authorities to announce that the danger has passed.

Eye wall
The ring of thunderstorms that surrounds a storm’s eye. The heaviest rain, strongest winds and worst turbulence are normally in the eye wall.

Storm surge
Storm surge is a dome of water that is pushed ashore by the oncoming hurricane’s winds. Storm surge and large battering waves can endanger lives, destroy buildings, erode beaches and damage roads. This flooding accounts for the largest number of hurricane fatalities.

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