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• A. L. Thompson’s Storm Centre live blog
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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.

Tropical Storm Ida continued its unpredictable path early Friday morning with yet another change in its forecast track which will now take it within five miles of Grand Cayman by 3am, according to forecasters at the Cayman Islands National Weather Service.

In its 1am update, the National Hurricane Center said the system was located about 30 miles east-northeast of Grand Cayman. It’s moving to the northwest at 12mph with sustained maximum winds of 40mph with higher gusts.

Tropical storm conditions are expected in the Grand Cayman area from about 1-7am Friday, according to the NWS.

“We urge everyone to stay off the roads and stay at home for their safety and that of emergency responders. This storm has been extremely unpredictable and it is important that we continue to stay vigilant and exercise extreme caution until it is past,” Deputy Governor said in an audio message issued Friday morning.

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The NHC 1am updated stated an “unofficial weather station on Grand Cayman recently reported a wind gust of 46mph”.

Forecasters earlier Thursday (26 Aug.) expected Grand Cayman to begin feeling Ida’s effects around 7:30pm but that anticipated arrival time changed several times throughout the night.

“The updated forecast is the result of yet another change to the track of the tropical storm, that will bring it within five miles of Grand Cayman, at around 3am, Friday morning, 27 August. By this time, sustained winds could reach 38 knots [around 44 miles per hour]. It is expected that these tropical storm force conditions will continue in Grand Cayman until around 7am,” the NWS advisory stated.

“Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center. An unofficial weather station on Grand Cayman recently reported a wind gust of 46 mph (74 km/h),” the NHC said.

An updated local weather advisory is expected from the National Weather Service shortly after 4am.

NWS TS Ida graphics

The National Emergency Operations Council will meet following the local forecast and share any new information on its response to TS Ida around 5:30-6am local time, a Government Information Services statement said.

Flood and marine warnings remain in effect for the Cayman Islands.

The National Weather Service noted there is the potential for up to 12 inches of rainfall between Thursday and Saturday. The forecast also points to wave heights of up to 10 feet.

Four hurricane shelters have opened on Grand Cayman including: Sir John A. Cumber Primary School in West Bay, the Red Cross building on Huldah Avenue, Clifton Hunter High School in Frank Sound, and the Elliott Connolly Civic Centre in Gun Bay, East End.

All but the Red Cross building are accessible to persons with disabilities, and Clifton Hunter is an animal shelter.

Aston Rutty Centre on Cayman Brac is open, as is the Public Works Department Building on Little Cayman.

Several businesses and government offices shut their doors early on Thursday in anticipation of the storm, following the issuing of a tropical storm warning at 10am.

Earlier on Thursday, Cayman Airways cancelled its Kingston repatriation flights KX3600 and KX3601, due to inclement weather in Jamaica.

“CUC has no plans to cut off the power unless weather conditions heighten and it is absolutely necessary to do so”

It added that its 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.

A full ist of business closures and cancellations is available on the A.L. Thompson’s Storm Centre live blog.

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