Tropical Storm Warning issued for Sister Islands

Layman E Scott School won't open on Monday

The forecast path of Tropical Storm Laura, which is expected to impact the Sister Islands early tomorrow morning. - Image: NOAA/NHC

For the latest information on storm activity in the Cayman Islands, as well as information on how to prepare for hurricane season, visit Storm Centre.

Update 10pm: Tropical Storm Laura was located 209 miles east-northeast of Cayman Brac at 10pm Sunday night, and is expected to be at its closest point to the Brac around 6am Monday.

The storm has sustained winds of 65 miles per hour and is moving west-northwest at 21 mph.

At its closest, it will be about 100 miles north-northwest of the Brac.

A tropical storm warning remains in place for the Sister Islands.

Layman E Scott Sr. High School on Cayman Brac advised parents on Sunday that the school will not open on Monday, due to the storm warning. The school had been scheduled to hold orientation activities for Year 7 and Year 12 students. Orientation will be postponed until further notice.

Tropical Storm Laura is predicted to track slightly closer to the south coast of Cuba than originally forecast. This means that there is a slightly lower possibility of the Sister Islands experiencing tropical-storm-force winds, forecasters said.

According to the Cayman Islands National Weather Service, the wind is expected to be from the north Sunday night, backing towards south-southwest near 20 to 25 knots, south-southeasterly by afternoon and becoming southeasterly at 15 to 20 knots by Monday evening. Higher gusts nearing 35 knots are likely, especially through Monday afternoon.

Moderate to locally heavy showers are expected through Monday evening. Up to 6 inches of rainfall could fall over the Sister Islands in the next 24 hours and flooding in low-lying areas is likely.

Slight-to-moderate sea conditions are expected at the Sister Islands, with wave heights of 2 to 4 feet through early night, becoming rough with wave heights of 6 to 8 feet Monday morning, and subsiding with wave heights of 4 to 6 feet by Monday evening.

On Grand Cayman, Tropical Storm Laura is expected to pass about 169 miles north-northeast of the island at its closest point of approach at around 10 am Monday morning. The wind direction is expected to be northwesterly tonight, backing towards the southwest at 15 to 20 knots with higher gusts by Monday morning, becoming southerly 15 to 20 knots by the evening. Higher gusts are also likely in and around heavy showers.

Up to 3 inches of rainfall are estimated to fall in Grand Cayman through Monday evening, and showers may be locally heavy at times.

Seas around Grand Cayman are expected to be slight to moderate with wave heights of 2 to 4 feet, becoming rough with wave heights of 5 to 7 feet in and around heavy showers over the next 24 hours. The National Weather Service said, “While the risk to marine interests in Grand Cayman might be low at this time, extra caution should be taken through the next 24 hours.”

The next bulletin will be issued at 4 am tomorrow.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Cayman Islands National Weather Service has issued a Tropical Storm Warning for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman as weather associated with Tropical Storm Laura is expected to impact the islands early tomorrow.

At 4pm, Laura was located about 300 miles east of Cayman Brac and 403 miles east of Grand Cayman. The storm is moving towards the west-northwest at almost 21 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 60mph.

According to forecasters, on this track, the storm is expected to be, at its closest point of approach, 92 miles north-northeast of Cayman Brac, by around 5am tomorrow, Monday, 24 Aug.

The expected path of the storm is further south than originally forecast, according to a notice issued by the NWS at 4:40pm today. And although the latest forecast suggests that tropical storm force winds may remain north of the Cayman Islands, stormy weather is expected to impact the Sister Islands overnight.

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area, in this case within the next 12 to 24 hours.

The latest forecast issued by the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, suggests that tropical storm winds may extend “uncomfortably close” to Cayman Brac by early tomorrow morning, the NWS stated.

Data from a US Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft measured maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour with higher gusts for the system.

The expected arrival time of winds from Tropical Storm Laura. – Image: NOAA/NHC

“Although the probability of Cayman Brac experiencing sustained winds of 34 knots (39 mph) or more remains low, any further unexpected progression south of the forecast track could mean that the Sister Islands may experience winds of 34 knots (39 mph) for a brief period possibly from early tomorrow through mid-morning,” the latest report said.

It continued, “Squally conditions with higher gusts are also likely over the Sister Islands during this period. Wind direction is expected to be from the north-northwest tonight, backing towards south-southwesterly by morning, south-southeasterly by afternoon and becoming southeasterly 15 to 20 knots by tomorrow evening.”

Moderate to locally heavy showers are expected from tonight through tomorrow evening as Tropical Storm Laura moves south of Cuba. Rainfall accumulation estimates near 1.5 inches are expected for the Sister Islands over the next 24 to 36 hours. Also, flooding in low-lying areas is likely.

Seas conditions over the Sister Islands are expected to be slight to moderate with wave heights of 2 to 4 feet through early night, becoming rough with wave heights of 6 to 8 feet tomorrow morning. The National Weather Service is advising all marine interests in the Sister Islands to seek safe harbour until at least Monday evening.

Conditions expected in Grand Cayman

In Grand Cayman, conditions are expected to be “bit more subdued”, with Tropical Storm Laura expected to pass about 156 miles north-northeast of Grand Cayman at its closest point of approach, the NWS reported.

The wind direction is expected to be northerly tonight, backing towards the west-southwest by tomorrow morning, southerly by afternoon, and becoming southeasterly 15 to 20 knots by tomorrow evening. Higher gusts are likely in and around heavy showers.

An estimated 1 inch of accumulate rainfall is expected to fall in Grand Cayman through tomorrow evening. Showers may be locally heavy at times.

Seas off Grand Cayman are expected to be slight to moderate, with wave heights of 2 to 4 feet and becoming rough in and around heavy showers over the next 24 hours. While the risk to marine interests in Grand Cayman might be low at this time, extra caution should be taken through the next 24 hours, the NWS advised.

The NHC said the storm was likely to bring heavy rain and life-threatening flash flooding to the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba and Jamaica.

The next local weather bulletin will be issued at 10pm tonight.

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