(CMR) Senior public and private sector representatives met Monday, 16 August 2021, to ensure the Cayman Islands’ preparedness ahead of the expected arrival of tropical storm conditions Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.
Following the declaration of a Tropical Storm Warning Monday morning, the National Hazard Management Council came together to plan the Islands’ response to the approach of Tropical Storm Grace. The council will also meet again tomorrow for an update on the country’s state of readiness.
Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI), the agency responsible for disaster preparedness, says a number of measures are already in place.
Shelters are being readied as a precaution, including the Red Cross Headquarters on Huldah Avenue, George Town; Sir John A. Cumber Primary School Hall in West Bay; Clifton Hunter High School in North Side; East End Civic Centre; Theoline McCoy Primary School in Bodden Town and the John Gray High School gymnasium in George Town. Both John Gray and Clifton Hunter High Schools are pet-friendly (for cats and dogs).
Members of the Cayman Islands Regiment have been embedded around the Island to assist persons in need.
Travel Cayman is in contact with persons in isolation facilities and those quarantining at home on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac to ensure any needs can be anticipated and that operations are ready for the severe weather.
The Port Authority has instructed vessels and small craft to seek safe harbor in the North Sound. The National Weather Service has also stated that all boats should be in safe harbor no later than Tuesday afternoon. The Port Authority will close its vessel berthing facilities and its cargo distribution warehouse at 2 pm Tuesday, expecting both facilities to reopen to the public on Thursday morning.
A firm decision on government operations in Grand Cayman will be announced tomorrow. Similarly, District Administration will make announcements regarding Government operations within the Sister Islands.
With Cayman Brac and Little Cayman currently set to experience tropical storm force conditions from 7 pm tomorrow, and Grand Cayman from 3 am Wednesday, Acting Deputy Governor Gloria McField-Nixon urged people to implement their preparedness plans as quickly as possible and to closely monitor the weather forecast as the system has been unpredictable. McField-Nixon also advised the community to avoid unnecessary travel where possible, in light of the weather forecast.
She also encouraged the public to stay tuned to official channels, including weather.gov.ky, caymanprepared.gov.ky, gov.ky, and Radio Cayman.
National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) and Mental Health Hotlines will be activated tomorrow for any persons in need of assistance. The numbers are as follows:
- NEOC- 949-6555 (from 3 pm until stood down)
- Mental Health- 18005346463 (9am-5pm)
In addition to preparedness measures already underway, the National Emergency Operations Centre itself will fully activate from 5 pm tomorrow afternoon to guide the Cayman Islands response to the tropical storm.