(CMR) At 1 pm today, the Sister Islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman were officially placed under a Tropical Storm Watch. A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical-storm-force winds are possible in the Sister Islands within 48 hours.
Hazard Management Cayman Islands, in a release, said Hurricane Elsa has continued to strengthen through the day and now has maximum sustained winds of 85 miles an hour. Elsa is moving WNW at 29 mph.
Despite the increase in wind speeds, the current forecast track has Elsa moving well north of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, and at the present time, it is considered unlikely that the Islands will experience tropical-storm-force winds. Despite that, there remains some uncertainty in the forecast track and intensity, so residents (especially of the Sister Islands) should not let their guard down.
The Cayman Islands National Weather Service is advising that wind speeds are forecast to increase in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman beginning on Sunday.
Rough to very rough seas (9 to 13 feet), are expected to begin impacting the North and East coasts of Cayman Islands, especially the Sister Islands, from Sunday. The Weather Service is cautioning that a Marine Advisory is expected to be in place on Sunday and will increase to a Marine Warning on Monday. Rain is forecast for both Sunday and Monday, which may lead to flooding of low-lying areas.
On the current forecast track of Hurricane Elsa, the Sister Islands are likely to experience strong to possibly near tropical-storm-force winds with higher gusts on Monday.
Residents, particularly persons in the Sister Islands, should ensure preparedness levels remain high and continue to monitor the progress of Hurricane Elsa. Additional updates will follow throughout the day.
Meantime, Elsa continues to batter several Eastern Caribbean islands with countries such as Barbados and St Lucia experiencing significant damage to buildings.