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 4:20pm The National Hurricane Center has upgraded Tropical Depression 9 to Tropical Storm Ida, which is now located 130 miles from Grand Cayman.
The NHC, in updated advisory, said Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft data indicate that the tropical depression has strengthened.
The maximum sustained winds are estimated to be 40 miles per hour with higher gusts, at a speed of 14 mph.
More details to follow in a further NHC advisory.
Update 4pm: The National Hurricane Center has said Tropical Depression 9, located 130 miles from Grand Cayman at this time, is expected to become a storm soon as its speed increases to near 14 miles per hour.
The next name on the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season list is Ida.
The system is moving toward the northwest and this general motion should continue over the next few days. Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph, with higher gusts. Steady strengthening is forecast during the next few days.
The depression is expected to become a tropical storm Thursday night, and become a hurricane when it is near western Cuba or over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.
Rainfall totals of 8 to 12 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches, are expected across the Cayman Islands and western Cuba, including the Isle of Youth, the NHC said.
Meanwhile, Caribbean Utilities Company has dismissed rumours of a looming service interruption.
“Cayman, rest assured that despite rumours circulating, CUC has no plans to cut off the power unless weather conditions heighten and it is absolutely necessary to do so,” it said in a social media post Thursday.
Update 1:10pm: Non-essential government offices were closed at 12:30pm Thursday in anticipation of the passage of Tropical Depression 9, the effects of which were already being felt on the Sister Islands.
A Government Information Services statement issued Thursday afternoon said that showers were already impacting Cayman Brac and Little Cayman and are expected to continue until Saturday.
The depression, which is projected to become a storm Thursday night, is expected to pass directly over Grand Cayman around 1am Friday.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft has been dispatched to assess the depression, which is now located 165 miles southeast of Grand Cayman. The system is moving at 13 miles per hour, with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph.
The government statement said that with some eight inches in rain forecast over the next two days and wave heights during that period potentially reaching 10 feet, the National Weather Service has already issued flood and marine warnings.
The National Emergency Operations Centre, which brings together emergency response agencies from across government and its private partners, is expected to partially activate overnight.
Three shelters, at Sir John A. Cumber Primary School, Red Cross headquarters on Huldah Avenue, and Clifton Hunter High School in Frank Sound, will open at 4pm.
Clifton Hunter is an animal shelter, while the other two are emergency medical centres.
Additional shelters will be open as needed, National Hazard Management Council chair Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said.
Manderson, in the statement, said severe weather systems are unpredictable and this system is already displaying the potential for intensification.
“I would like to urge all persons, in particular those whose residences may have been impacted by Tropical Storm Grace, to immediately assess the safety of their residences and determine if it is suitable to ride out the storm. If it is not you need to decide now where you will shelter,” the deputy governor added.
Premier Wayne Panton also issued a message urging preparedness.
Cayman Airways has cancelled Kingston repatriation flights KX3600 and KX3601, both of which were scheduled for Thursday, due to inclement weather in Jamaica.
It added that the La Ceiba repatriation flights KX3880 and KX3881 operated as scheduled.
The national flag carrier said it will operate recovery flights for cancelled operations as soon as it is safe to do so, and affected passengers will be advised accordingly.
Original story: A tropical storm warning has been issued for the Cayman Islands as Tropical Depression 9 has become better organised 210 miles southeast of Grand Cayman.
Heads of the National Hazard Management Council, Hazard Management Cayman Island and the National Weather Services jointly announced at 10am Thursday that the islands have been placed under a tropical storm warning.
The warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area within 36 hours.
The National Weather Service issued a severe weather bulletin ahead of Thursday’s US National Hurricane Center advisories, and flood and marine warnings are already in effect for the Cayman Islands.
“Gale force winds are also expected across the Cayman Islands overnight with even stronger gusts expected for the Sister Islands. The National Hurricane Center is monitoring this system, with a 90% chance of developing as environmental conditions are favorable for it to become even better organized,” Hazard Management said in a Facebook post Thursday morning.
Seas are forecast to be rough Thursday, with wave heights of 5 to 7 feet, increasing to 7 to 9 feet overnight, and 9 to 11 feet on Friday.
The National Hurricane Center, in an advisory, said the depression is moving toward the northwest at nearly 13 miles an hour, and this general motion should continue over the next few days.
“On the forecast track, the center of the depression will pass near or over the Cayman Islands [Thursday night], the Isle of Youth and Western Cuba Friday, and move over the southeastern and central Gulf of Mexico Friday night and Saturday. The system is forecast to approach the U.S. northern Gulf coast on Sunday,” the NHC said.
Maximum sustained winds are at almost 35 mph, with higher gusts.
The NHC, in its advisory, said, “Steady strengthening is forecast during the next few days. The depression is expected to become a tropical storm tonight, and become a hurricane when it is near western Cuba or over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico. Additional strengthening is likely over the Gulf of Mexico and the system could be near major hurricane strength when it approaches the northern Gulf coast.”
An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system in the afternoon.
The NHC said “uncertainty in the system’s exact track and intensity remains large since the low is just beginning to form”.
It stated, in its tropical weather discussion, that showers and thunderstorms continue to show signs of organisation in association with a broad area of low pressure located over the west-central Caribbean Sea about 150 miles south-southwest of Jamaica.
The depression is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 6 to 10 inches, with maximum totals of 15 inches across Jamaica. Rainfall totals of 8 to 12 inches, with isolated
maximum amounts of 20 inches, are expected across the Cayman Islands, western Cuba, including the Isle of Youth and the northeast portions of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Swells generated by this system will begin affecting Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cuba tonight and Friday. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
Hazard Management is urging residents to prepare for the storm removing any debris from their yards that can fly around and damage property; fill clean water containers with drinking water; and be prepared for any loss of power.