UPDATE: HMCI now has given ‘all clear’ for Grand Cayman for 6 pm. Persons are still advised not to be on the roads unless absolutely necessary. There is still flooding and debris on roads so please proceed with caution.
CUC is aiming to have 50-60% of power back on in Grand Cayman this evening. Thank you to everyone for your dedication during the storm. Be safe.
(CMR) Although Hurricane Grace has moved away from Cayman, the all-clear has not been given to Grand Cayman. In fact, the police are advising people to remain off the road until further notice as broken trees, down power lines and cables present a danger to motorists.
With Hurricane Grace moving west-northwest at 16 miles an hour and expected to make landfall in the Yucatan Peninsula tomorrow morning, the National Hazard Management Council lifted the Hurricane Watch for the Cayman Islands.
However, while Cayman Brac and Little Cayman were able to declare all clear at 1p.m., winds of bands and torrential rain will continue to affect Grand Cayman into the evening. A tropical storm warning remains in effect for Grand Cayman as torrential rains continue to affect the island.
Acting Deputy Governor Gloria McField-Nixon said: “We appreciate that the movement of Hurricane Grace away from the Cayman Islands has lessened the threat of winds, but the tail of the storm has given rise to other extensive threats including heavy rainfall, debris, downed power lines and widespread power outages.”
The Acting Deputy Governor urged all persons to remain in their residences and off the roads until the all-clear is given for Grand Cayman.
RCIPS officers have completed an assessment of the major roads between George Town and Bodden Town.
“As well as debris and broken trees, there are also power cables down across the roads in some places. Due to the danger this presents we strongly advise motorists to stay off the roads until further notice”, says Inspector Jones of the Traffic and Roads Policing Unit.
Grace reached hurricane status around 10 am local time, when it was located 69 miles west of the Cayman Islands. As a result, the Islands were spared the hurricane-force winds, which extended only 20 miles out from the center of the cyclone but continued to be impacted by tropical storm winds up to 100 miles from the center.
As the weather system exited the Cayman Islands area, the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) responded to an unusually high number of calls, reflecting the widespread impact of Grace across all three Islands, and in particular on Grand Cayman.
The Department of Public Safety Communications has dealt with more than 130 calls in the last 24 hours, with calls continuing into the evening. Meanwhile the NEOC’s own helpline tel. 949-6555, responded to 180 requests for information and support, between early and mid-morning.
Travel Cayman teams, which have been working throughout the severe weather event to monitor and support more than 1300 persons quarantining privately or at Government facilities, also dealt with some 60 calls in the same period.
Representatives of the NEOC’s Human Concerns Cluster noted that the number of persons in shelters now stands at 36 on Grand Cayman and five on Little Cayman.
The NEOC’s debris clearance committee is already out in the field on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac working to clear roads among other tasks.
Damage assessment committees in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman have already made preliminary assessments of those islands. The Grand Cayman team has begun their own evaluation process, which is more wide-ranging, in line with the proximity of the hurricane’s path to the south coast of Grand Cayman.
The NEOC’s Utilities cluster noted that the severe weather has impacted telecommunications, power and water suppliers, all of which had teams in the office and in the field working to address the issues.
Digicel and Flow are reporting impacts ranging from congestion to outages. Caribbean Utiities Company (CUC), has crews in the field dealing with system assessments across Grand Cayman. CUC teams will be working overnight to provide relief.
Meanwhile, Cayman Water Company has since restored its distribution network in West Bay which it had disconnected earlier this morning. The Water Authority says there are no outages on its distribution system but there are reports of service lines being damaged by fallen trees.
Interested persons may visit www.gov.ky and www.gov.ky/news/noticeboard for more Tropical Storm Grace updates.