The National Hazard Management Council announced today that non-essential Government offices on Grand Cayman closed at 2pm today (Tuesday 17 August 2021) in advance of the passage of Tropical Storm Grace through the Cayman Islands area.
Government offices on Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, which will feel the storm’s impact some hours earlier than Grand Cayman closed at noon. At 1 p.m. the tropical storm is currently located at latitude 18.5 north and longitude 77.5 west 259 miles east of Grand Cayman and 172 miles east-southeast of Cayman Brac. It is moving west at 16 mph with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.
The National Weather Service currently expects the Sister Islands will experience tropical storm force wind and rain slightly later than previously predicted, from about 9pm tonight. Meanwhile severe weather conditions are predicted to reach Grand Cayman earlier than forecast, by 1 a.m. on Wednesday morning.
Acting Deputy Governor Gloria McField-Nixon notes that the most recent weather information suggests the potential for the tropical storm to strengthen into a category one hurricane as it is departing, but still within close proximity to the Cayman Islands area.
Ms McField-Nixon says that the NHMC is closely monitoring the progress of the storm over the next few hours, and it is possible that a hurricane warning could be issued later today.
“I cannot emphasise strongly enough the importance of people finishing their preparedness measures as soon as possible, and taking all necessary precautions until Tropical Storm Grace has completed its passage through our area.”
“This includes having a 3-day supply of water, non-perishable food and necessary supplies at hand, but also immediately assessing the safety of your residence and determining if it is suitable to ride out the storm or alternatively where you will shelter. We also recommend that persons have a battery or solar powered radio with them so that they can stay informed even if the power goes out,” she concludes.
Members of the public are advised to avoid shorelines and refrain from non-essential travel after dark, or about 7pm. Accordingly the NHMC advises the residents to complete their storm preparedness measures with this timeframe in mind.
The National Emergency Operations Centre, which coordinates the Cayman Islands response to a national disaster, will begin operations at 5pm, and work past the all clear. Its helpline, tel. 949-6555, will be operated by members of the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps from 3 p.m. until stood down. The Mental Health tel. 18005346463 will also be operating from 9am-5pm.