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: 4:10pm, 5 Oct: Data collected by a Hurricane Hunter aircraft monitoring Tropical Storm Delta shows the weather system’s winds are “rapidly increasing”, according to the latest update by the National Hurricane Center in Florida.
The NHC noted that winds had increased to nearly 70 miles an hour and that the storm is now moving westward at almost 8 miles per hour.
It is expected to turn west-northwest later this evening and a faster track in that direction is expected Tuesday and through Wednesday night.
On its forecast path, the NHC said, Delta is expected to pass southwest of the Cayman Islands early on Tuesday morning.
It is expected to be a major hurricane when it nears the Yucatan Peninsula.
Currently, tropical-storm-force winds are extending outward up to 70 miles from the centre.
Update 1:20 pm, 5 Oct.: Tropical storm Delta’s track has shifted west and is expected to bring the storm closer to Grand Cayman, National Weather Service Director General John Tibbetts said.
Tibbetts, in a video update from Government Information Services Monday morning, said this was a “fairly significant” change, as going into Sunday night the track projected the system passing east and northeast of Grand Cayman.
However, at 7am Monday, the track of the storm moved more towards the west.
“The tropical storm force winds at that point were then extending to the Sister Islands. However, rather than this tropical depression/tropical storm moving northwest, it moved more towards the west. The corresponding forecast track has now shifted from east and north of Grand Cayman to west and southwest of Grand Cayman.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami, in its latest advisory, said Delta is
moving toward the west at almost 7 miles per hour, and a turn toward the west-northwest is forecast later Monday. By 1pm, it was located 225 miles south-southeast of Grand Cayman.
“Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 60 mph with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is expected during the next few days, and Delta is expected to become a hurricane tonight or Tuesday before it nears western Cuba,” it said.
Tropical-storm-force winds are extending outward up to 60 miles from the centre.
“A faster northwestward motion is expected on Tuesday and Wednesday. On the forecast
track, the center of Delta is expected to move away from Jamaica later today, move near or over the Cayman Islands early Tuesday, and approach western Cuba Tuesday afternoon or evening. Delta is forecast to move into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday night, and be over the south-central Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday,” the NHC said.
The change in track is better news for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, Tibbetts said.
However, “it does bring it almost over the George Town area …. There isn’t any change in the intensity at this particular point and the system is forecast to gradually strengthen as it moves across the area,” he added.
Tibbetts said he expects the shift west to continue.
“We still got a lot of weather to come from it,” he added.
From around 3-4pm Monday afternoon, Tibbetts said, tropical conditions will begin in Grand Cayman, and will intensify through the evening.
“The worst weather is on the backside off this storm, and so tomorrow we’ll have a tendency to have a lot more heavy thunder showers and flooding,” he added.
Tibbetts said the longer the storm takes to strengthen, the better the chances for Cayman since “as long as it remains weak, it will continue to move west”.
“If it continues to move west, then it will pass us to the south. It is something that we’re going to look at, we’re going to monitor. For right now, the storm is forecast to move across near the George Town area and impact us with some tropical storm force winds,” he said.
Original story: Tropical Storm Delta is continuing to strengthen over the northwestern Caribbean Sea and National Hurricane Center forecasters are projecting it to become a hurricane on Tuesday.
Cayman is currently under a tropical storm warning, as the system makes its way towards the islands.
Local schools and some government offices have been closed for Monday and Tuesday.
Grand Cayman’s supermarkets have also revised opening hours in anticipation of the weather system.
For the latest on closures due to the storm go to the Cayman Compass live blog.
According to the NHC’s 11am advisory, the system is 135 miles south of Negril, Jamaica, and about 265 miles southeast of Grand Cayman.
The storm’s maximum sustained winds have increased to 45 miles per hour.
“Additional strengthening is expected during the next few days, and Delta is expected to become a hurricane on Tuesday before it nears western Cuba,” the NHC said.
Delta is moving west near 7 mph, and a turn toward the west-northwest is forecast later Monday.
A faster northwestward motion is expected on Tuesday and Wednesday. On its forecast track, the centre of Delta is expected to move away from Jamaica later today, move near or over the Cayman Islands early Tuesday, and approach western Cuba Tuesday afternoon or evening.
Delta is forecast to move into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday night, and be over the south-central Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.
Cayman’s Port Authority director Joseph Woods said the port will remain open to the public until noon, but staff were already preparing the dock for the onslaught of the storm.
“We will commence preparing our Portland Road facilities after midday,” he told the Compass.
Woods added, “We also want to advise anyone with boats in the waters around the three Cayman Islands to ensure they have taken adequate measures to secure them, especially any on the western side of the Grand Cayman.”
He also reminded boat owners with vessels stored at Safehaven or other marinas or anchored in the North Sound to ensure they add extra ropes or anchors to secure them.
The NHC has said through midweek, Delta is expected to produce 4 to 6 inches of rain with isolated maximum totals of 8 inches across Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and western Cuba. This rainfall could lead to significant flash floods and mudslides.
Tropical storm conditions are expected in the Cayman Islands beginning late today or tonight. Hurricane conditions are expected within the hurricane warning area in western Cuba by late Tuesday afternoon, with tropical storm conditions expected by Tuesday
Hurricane conditions are possible on the Isle of Youth beginning Tuesday afternoon with tropical storm conditions expected by early Tuesday. Tropical storm conditions are possible in the tropical storm watch area in Cuba on Tuesday.
“A dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 2 to 4 feet above normal tide levels along the south coast of western Cuba near and to right of where the center makes landfall. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves,” the NHC said.