By Stuart Wilson
Residents and visitors in Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands were reminded of Mother Nature’s fury and how quickly whether conditions can change in the tropics on Monday, February 5th, 2024.
The cost of living in paradise, and enjoying the beauty of an Island surrounded by the sea can quickly add up during cold fronts, Norwesters and the occasional hurricane, which can wreak havoc and bring business as usual to a standstill.
Those who lived through the experience of Hurricane Ivan are familiar with the damage that can be caused by swelling seas and the strong winds that accompany wave action.
Throughout the Island of Grand Cayman pictures of Monday night’s destruction made the rounds on social media, as Cayman woke up to the carnage caused by the latest cold front the following morning.
A weather forecast over the preceding weekend had warned of a system that was threatening the Islands. However, the extent of the carnage that followed through Monday night and Tuesday morning still came as somewhat of a surprise to many.
Road closures throughout George Town and Northwest Point, West Bay obscured some of the damage caused. Though on closer inspection it was evident that businesses on the Waterfront and in parts of West Bay would be reeling from the ocean’s thrashing for weeks and months to come.
South Church Street, in particular was riddled with debris as emergency services sought to cordon off the area in an effort to keep the public safe.
With wave actions still presenting danger on Tuesday, 6th February motorists and pedestrians were ordered to avoid the area.
In West Bay, the situation was the same, with businesses such as the Macabuca Restaurant/Cracked Conch experiencing major damage to their decking and patio bar and parts off the road ripped to pieces.
A National Weather Service advisor issued on Tuesday, 6th February noted: “The high pressure behind a cold front that moved east of the Cayman Islands overnight, will continue to produce strong to near gale force winds over the Cayman Islands through tonight. Marine conditions are forecasted to be extremely rough. A marine warning remains in effect through to tomorrow morning. All marine vessels should remain in safe harbor until further notice.”
Damage was also seen on the Sister Islands and many residents there were inconvenienced due to the inclement weather conditions.
The practice of buildings along much of Cayman’s coastline being erected in close proximity to the sea has meant that damage during these systems can be more catastrophic than bargained for.
“This has dyer consequences not just for those who chose to build in those areas but also for insurers, whose premiums will no doubt increase based on payouts to person’s choosing to reside in those locations, through no fault of their own,” noted one observer of Tuesday morning’s damage, who added that their needed to be an insurance code implemented in Cayman that did not punish all for the few.