CAYMAN BRACES FOR BAD WEATHER
Cayman woke up Monday to a continuing Tropical Storm Warning as Depression 26 showed signs of strengthening into Tropical Storm Delta.
The Cayman Islands, Jamaica and western Cuba were forecast to be the first to feel its effects, mainly of heavy rainfall.
The National Hazard Management Council (NHMC) has sprung into action with several advisories to the public ahead of the imminent storm.
Government schools have been closed for today and tomorrow as the system rolls through the area.
A decision was expected Monday morning on whether all government offices will close from midday. Meantime, civil servants and companies whose employees can work from home are advised to do so today.
The Port Authority will close its cargo warehouse from midday Monday as it battens down in advance of the storm which is also expected to produce high seas putting sea-front business and properties at risk of flooding.
The government has also cancelled official events planned over the next two days.
With Cayman still under COVID-19 alert, those persons who have been isolating at home under the new border-reopening arrivals screening system will be moved to Government-managed quarantine facilities should they require.
The Red Cross has also announced that its shelter on Huldah Avenue has been placed on standby in the event of flooding.
In a 4am update on Monday morning, the Cayman Islands National Weather Service(CINWS) had positioned the centre of the depression at around 262 miles east-south-east of Grand Cayman moving to the west-north-west at 9 miles an hour and packing winds of 55 miles an hour.
Partly cloudy skies with a 30% chance of showers were forecast for this morning becoming cloudy to overcast by late afternoon with a 70% chance of widely scattered showers and thunder.
Showers may become locally heavy at times from this evening and flooding in low lying areas are expected from this evening with 2 to 4 inches of rainfall expected.
Seas are expected to be moderate to rough with wave heights of 3 to 5 feet this morning increasing to 5 to 7 feet by this evening over Grand Cayman.
For the Sister Islands, rough seas with wave heights of 4 to 6 feet were expected this morning increasing to 6 to 8 feet by this evening.
All craft should seek and remain in safe harbour from this afternoon until further notice.
By Monday night conditions are expected to further deteriorate becoming, cloudy to overcast with an 80% chance of showers and thunder were expected from early this evening becoming overcast with heavy showers and thunder from midnight.
Showers may become extremely intense in and around heavy showers. Flooding in low lying areas will continue.
Grand Cayman can expect winds by tonight 15 to 20 knots increasing to 30 to 40 knots by midnight and veering to the southeast at 30 to 40 knots with higher gusts by early morning. Wave heights of 5 to 7 feet is forecast for this evening increasing to 10 to 15 feet or higher by midnight
For the Sister Islands winds of 20 to 25 knots with higher gusts can be expected this evening increasing and veering to the southeast at 25 to 30 knots with higher gusts by early Tuesday morning.
Sea state for the Sister Islands is expected to be rough with waves of 6 to 8 feet increasing to 10 to 12 feet by midnight.
All craft should remain in safe harbour until further notice.
Grand Cayman should expect the start of winds of tropical storm strength from around midnight on Monday with heavy rain, thunder and strong winds.
Showers may become extremely intense risking flooding in low lying areas.
It was not immediately clear if TD 26 would be declared a tropical storm before it reaches Cayman. If so it will be called Tropical Storm Delta, the latest named storm with the extremely active 2020 hurricane season now using the Greek alphabet having exhausted the standard naming scheme.
The US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) says the system will continue to push west-northward with conditions are expected to become more conducive for intensification.
It was expected to become a tropical storm on Monday and then a hurricane as soon as later Tuesday when it moves near western Cuba.
Dangerous storm surge and hurricane conditions are possible in portions of western Cuba and the Isle of Youth by Tuesday afternoon, and a Hurricane Watch is in effect.
The NHC also says heavy rainfall will affect the Cayman Island, portions of Jamaica, and western Cuba during the next few days. This rainfall could lead to significant flash flooding and mudslides.