‘Prepare for the worst, hope for the best’ message for Delta
By Christopher Tobutt
“Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best,” was the message that Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin put out at the Government’s press briefing on tropical storm Delta on Monday afternoon. The storm was all set to become a hurricane, by the early hours of Tuesday morning, but the good news was that it had started shifting away from Grand Cayman, further to the west than anticipated earlier.
The panel of Government officials including His Excellency Governor Martyn Roper, and John Tibbetts, Director General of the Cayman Islands Weather Service, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, and Minister of Home Affairs Hon. Tara Rivers told everyone what they should expect from Tropical Storm Delta, and how they should get ready. Most government offices had already shut, and schools were closed on Monday and Tuesday as a precaution.
Weatherman John Tibbetts said The good news was that although earlier in the day the storm was predicted to hit Grand Cayman head-on, it had actually been moving further and further west at about 8 mph so that the centre of it would miss Grand Cayman. The bad news was that it was predicted to reach hurricane category sometime in the middle of the night. This meant that everyone in Cayman should still take precautions, as tropical storm level winds would be “brushing,” the western side of Grand Cayman. The top wind speeds in the storm were around 70 mph, and although Grand Cayman would escape the worst of the winds, anywhere from 2 to five inches of rainfall would be expected for later on Monday night and lasting throughout Tuesday.
Premier Alden McLaughlin said that despite the good news of Delta’s new westerly direction, everyone should still be vigilant and prepared and take the threat seriously. All emergency and related services were in good shape, “we are ready to deal with any eventuality,” he said. He urged members of the public to stay at home, and stay safe, be vigilant and warned against dangers from fallen trees or downed power lines. He also urged employers to allow employees to work from home if possible, so travel would be kept to a minimum until the hazard had passed.
Governor Martyn Roper reiterated the “prepare for the worst but hope for the best,” theme. He said that he had spoken with the Commissioner of Police who had urged the public to stay off roads as much as possible both on Monday night and all day Tuesday. He said that there were two Royal Navy ships, the Medway and the Argus were in the region, just in case they were needed. When he was asked about whether or not the new Cayman Islands Regiment would be deployed, he said it would depend on how the circumstances would unfold but he did not feel they would be called upon yet.
Of course, Covid-19 has added its complications, and those who are in isolation, whether one of more than 200 in quarantine in a Government facility, or the 80 cases in isolation at home, were being taken care of in case they needed to move. Deputy Governor Franz Manderson explained that some of the people presently in a government facility had been moved from the ground floor to the second floor, as a precaution against flooding, and Minister for Home Affairs Hon. Tara Rivers said that all the national emergency and contingency plans had been activated. A telephone number was given for non-emergency requests for help, 944-6555. Shelters across the island had been put on standby, and if they were needed, residents were reminded to take all the things that they needed, especially things to do with covid-19 such as masks. It was expected and hoped that things should be pretty much back to normal by Wednesday.