(CMR) The Cayman Islands has now been placed under Hurricane Watch. The National Hazard Management Council, in consultation with the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Centre in Miami, announced at 4 p.m. today that the Cayman Islands has added a Hurricane Watch to its already declared Tropical Storm Warning.
Hazard Management said due to the very close proximity of the forecast approach of the hurricane-force wind field for Tropical Storm Grace, a decision has been taken to issue a Hurricane Watch for the Cayman Islands.
National Weather Service Director General John Tibbetts said the Government decided to take the step out of an abundance of caution as Tropical Storm Grace is expected to become a category one hurricane as it moves out of the Cayman Islands area.
“The combination of a hurricane watch with a tropical storm warning means that in addition to experiencing tropical storm winds within the next 24 hours, it is possible, but not likely, that we will also experience hurricane-force winds,” Tibbetts explained.
“It is important that everyone understands that even a tropical storm is dangerous and has the potential to cause loss of life. As a result, it is important for us all to follow public safety messaging, avoid coastlines, refrain from non-essential journeys and stay informed on everything that is happening until the all-clear can be given”.
The National Emergency Operations Centre, which coordinates the Cayman Islands response to a national disaster, begins operations at 5 pm and works past the all-clear.
The NEOC helpline, tel. 949-6555 is being operated by members of the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps until stood down. The Mental Health tel. 18005346463 will also be operating from 9 am-5 pm.
Tropical Storm Grace is now affecting the island of Jamaica with heavy rains and strong winds. There have been reports of flooding across several parishes.