ELSA NOW A HURRICANE AND HEADED OUR WAY
Tropical Storm Elsa strengthened into a hurricane early Friday becoming the first hurricane for the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.
Elsa was positioned just west-southwest of Barbados on Friday morning with sustained wind of 74 mph and gust of 86 mph was measured on Barbados where hurricane conditions were being experienced.
The US National Hurricane Centre has issued warnings for the Windward Islands. Residents of the other Caribbean islands and Florida have been advised to closely track the hurricane’s progress this weekend as it moves West-north-west across the Caribbean Sea in the general direction of the Cayman Islands.
CONDITIONS IN CAYMAN
Elsa is expected to be in the Cayman area by Sunday into Monday.
The Cayman Islands National Weather Service and Hazard Management Cayman last night issued a Storm Alert for the Sister Islands.
That is now likely to be upgraded as the hurricane moves closer to the local area in the coming days.
A tropical storm ‘alert’ means that tropical storm force winds are possible in Little Cayman and Cayman Brac within 72 hours. On the current forecast track, Tropical Storm Elsa is expected to pass 70 miles away from the Sister Islands, but due to uncertainty in the models for both the track and intensity of Tropical Storm Elsa, the Alert is being issued as a precaution.
An official statement advised residents of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman to make preparations; including ensuring they have supplies of non-perishable food and bottled water.
The District Commissioner for the Sister Islands, Mark Tibbetts and District Officer Tate McFarlane have confirmed that the necessary preparations and p[recauitnary steps are already been activated.
The Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) on both Little Cayman and Cayman Brac are on standby.
Further details are expected today on preparations across the entire jurisdiction. In the meantime, all residents, including those on Grand Cayman are encouraged to closely monitor the progress of Hurricane Elsa.
Weather conditions across Cayman are expected to start gradually deteriorating as of today.
The Cayman Islands National Weather Service(CINWS) local forecast through to Monday.
High - 88°F / Low - 77°F
FORECAST: Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with a 40% chance of afternoon showers and possible thunder.
WINDS: Northeast at 5 to 10 knots.
SEA STATE: Slight to moderate with wave heights of 2 to 4 feet.
High - 88°F / 77°F, Low - 77°F
FORECAST: Cloudy skies with a 40% chance of showers and thunder.
WINDS: East to southeast at 10 to 15 knots with higher gusts.
SEA STATE: Moderate with wave heights of 3 to 5 feet.
High - 83°F / Low - 75°F
FORECAST: Cloudy to overcast skies with numerous showers and thunder. Showers will be heavy and lead to flooding of low-lying areas.
WINDS: Moderate to fresh winds. Increase in winds speeds are expected for the Sister Islands from the evening.
SEA STATE: Seas will rough and will become very rough from late evening, especially over the Sister Islands, with wave heights increasing to 9 to 13 feet or higher. A Marine Advisory is expected to be in place.
High - 88°F / Low - 77°F
FORECAST: Cloudy skies with numerous showers and thunder. Showers may be locally heavy at times leading to flooding of low-lying areas.
WINDS: Fresh winds are expected over Grand Cayman. The Sister Islands are likely to experience strong to possibly near tropical storm force winds with higher gusts.
SEA STATE: Very Rough to extremely rough with wave heights of 9 to 13 feet or higher. A marine warning would be in effect.
ELSEWHERE IN THE PATH OF ELSA
A hurricane warning has been issued for Barbados, St. Vincent, the Grenadines and St. Lucia.
Tropical storm warnings have been issued for parts of the Windward Islands, where tropical storm force conditions (winds of at least 39 mph) are expected on Friday.
A tropical storm warning has also been issued for the southern coast of the Dominican Republic and portions of Haiti. A hurricane watch has also been posted for southern portions of Hispaniola. A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions are possible and are typically issued 48 hours before tropical storm force winds are expected to begin.
Tropical storm watches have been issued for Jamaica.
According to the US National Hurricane Centre(NHC), Elsa is tracking quickly westward at 28 mph. The quick forward speed should limit rainfall totals.
The NHC says rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches with isolated totals up to 10 inches are possible in the Windward and southern Leeward Islands Friday. This could lead to isolated flash flooding and mudslides.
However, the NHC also said that the system's fast forward speed will limit the heavy rain threat that might otherwise be greater.