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The Tropics are heating up

Front Pages 22 Aug, 2023 Follow News

The Tropics are heating up

Cayman might be in the clear for now as the hurricane season shifts into high gear. The closest current threat, the newly developed tropical storm Franklin, is forecast to swing to the north long before it reaches the local area.

According to the Weather Channel, the system - one of three to form in the past week - is expected to turn more to the north while gaining strength and could become a strong tropical storm before making landfall in Hispaniola by Wednesday.

Historically, it's one of the rare occasions with three named storms developing within hours of each other. Tropical storms Emily, Franklin and Gert all developed over a 24-hour period, only the third time this has happened in the Atlantic since 1851.

With Emily and Gert not expected to impact land, all eyes are on Franklin which is expected to make a sharp turn to the north well before reaching the vicinity of the Cayman Islands. On its forecast track, Franklin could pass between Puerto Rico and Hispaniola and then brush by Turks and Caicos before turning out into the Atlantic, where it could become a hurricane far from land.

Rainfall associated with Franklin is expected in both Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and Puerto Rico.

According to the US National Hurricane Center, rainfall totals of 5 to 10 inches, with local amounts up 15 inches, are forecast for Hispaniola where serious flooding and mudslides could occur.

Puerto Rico could see flooding as well with downpours of up to 6 inches.

T​ropical storm warnings and watches extend from parts of Hispaniola to the Turks and Caicos.

The sudden burst of weather activity in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean Sea is said by weather experts to be "most common in August and September when lower-atmospheric conditions such as wind shear and humidity are otherwise favourable for development and water temperatures are typically at their warmest."

The uptick in the Atlantic is called a tropical cyclone outbreak and that is defined as having three or more tropical storms or depressions form within a few days of one another in a relatively short amount of time in close proximity of each other.

Meanwhile, here in Cayman authorities are advising residents to take note that the 2023 Hurricane Season is showing signs of an increase in activity.

An important preparedness consideration includes a plan for where to shelter in a hurricane if you are not sure your home is safe. Going to a strong multi-story office building, or a well-elevated home of a friend or a family member is a good option for some. Also, depending on the strength and direction of a cyclone, Emergency Shelters will be opened when a tropical cyclone is threatening the Cayman Islands.

"Deciding where to shelter in a hurricane should not be a last-minute decision - it is something that should be well-considered and planned in advance."

The complete list of shelters can be found on the Cayman Prepared website and there is additional information about what to bring and where the designated Emergency Medical Centres are located in each district and on each Island.

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