UPDATE: As weather conditions deteriorate, more than 20,000 people were without power by 9:45am.
High winds knocked down trees and electricity poles at a number of locations across Grand Cayman.
Rough seas are lashing the shorelines on the south and west coasts of the island.
Due to the high winds and heavy rainfall, Cayman Airways has cancelled its flights today.
The Health Services Authority reported that its main phone line is down due to the storm. Anyone who needs to contact the hospital can call 525-2144. In a medical emergency, call 911.
Original story: More than 7,000 customers on Grand Cayman lost power Saturday morning as heavy rains from the approaching storm Eta continued across the island.
On its latest track, Eta, which is a tropical depression but expected to strengthen to a tropical storm, will be at its nearest point – 60 miles – from Grand Cayman by early this evening, and 99 miles northwest of Cayman Brac by late tonight.
As torrential rain continues to fall across Grand Cayman, the Red Cross shelter in George Town will open at 9am this morning, a Government Information Service spokesperson confirmed. At noon, four more shelters will open. These include the John Gray Memorial Church in West Bay, and the civic centres at Breakers, East End and North Side. John Gray High School is also opening at noon as a shelter, and is pet friendly.
Up to 8 inches of rain is expected to fall today, bringing flooding to low-lying areas.
Local supermarkets, Foster’s, Priced Right, Hurley’s Marketplace and Kirk Market will all close at 9am today because of the inclement weather, the stores announced early today.
Post offices closed
Customs collections office and warehouse closed
The weather system is currently about 190 miles west to southwest of Grand Cayman and moving east to northeast at 13 miles per hour.
Power outages were experienced shortly after 7am in Spotts, Prospect, George Town, West Bay and in other areas across the island. By 8:20am, power had been returned to customers at some locations but nearly 4,800 people at 49 sites remained without power.
In Red Bay, outages was caused by transmission poles blowing over and breaking.
The storm is expected to be closest to Grand Cayman about 2pm this afternoon. Tropical-storm-force winds are expected to start about 10am and end about 6pm, the Cayman Islands National Weather said in a bulletin overnight.
On the Sister Islands, tropical storm-force winds are expected to begin around 6pm tonight, and end around 11pm.
Up to 8 inches of rain are expected to fall across the Cayman Islands today.
The storm is also bringing strong winds. A gale force winds advisory is in place, as Eta is predicted to bring winds of up to 30 knots, with higher gusts of 40 knots.
Rough seas are also expected, especially along the south and west coasts of Grand Cayman. Wave heights of 8-12 feet are predicted.
A marine advisory remains in effect through to Sunday afternoon. All marine craft should seek and remain in safe harbour.