Key Message: While Hurricane Emily is continuing along its projected WNW path, the storm is of major Category 4 intensity and could intensify further. The National Hurricane Committee advises residents to continue hurricane preparations since any deviation from the present course will put Grand Cayman in hurricane force winds.
On its current path, the closest point of approach to Grand Cayman from Emily's centre will be 90 miles south-southwest of Grand Cayman, at about 4:00AM on Sunday. At this point, winds are forecast to be around 65 mph, with higher gusts. This is equivalent to minimal tropical storm conditions.
The Meteorological Service forecasts that Grand Cayman will begin experiencing cloudy conditions from late afternoon/early evening, progressing into showers and a number of squalls, lasting through tomorrow. Tropical storm force winds will be felt from just before midnight until early Sunday morning (8:00/9:00am).
Emily is expected to continue on its west-northwest track and to maintain its speed for the next 24 hours. Wind direction will be out of the ENE initially, veering to ESE by early Sunday morning. The south side of Grand Cayman can expect to experience dangerous waves of 9-12 feet or higher, while rainfall of between 3-8 inches is expected and may lead to some flooding in low-lying areas. Storm surge of 2-4 feet, particularly on the southern coast, may contribute to flooding.
The Sister Islands are not forecast to experience any tropical storm force winds, but can also expect showers, squalls, gusty winds and rough seas-also accompanied by waves of 8-10 feet.
NHC advice to local population: The NHC continues to urge all interests to closely monitor news reports. Residents and businesses should be prepared for inclement weather beginning late afternoon/early evening Saturday and all hurricane preparations should be completed urgently.
All shelters on Grand Cayman, except East End Primary School, will be open from 1pm Saturday.
The NHC and the RCIP are considering a curfew for Grand Cayman. The decision will be announced after this afternoon's 4:30 NHC meeting. Meanwhile all residents should be inside their homes for their own safety and security before tropical storm force winds begin affecting the island. Owners of restaurants and licensed premises should prepare to close early tonight in anticipation of the curfew and to ensure that their employees are home safely before 11pm.
Owen Roberts International Airport:
Will close at 7pm tonight (Saturday) and will reopen after the All Clear has been issued. The Gerard Smith Airport on Cayman Brac will remain open as normal until 9:00 pm.
Details of Weather System at 11:00 AM, Saturday:
Longitude: 77.3 West
Latitude: 16.2 North
Speed of system and direction of movement: Moving WNW, near 18 MPH, and this motion is expected to continue over the next 24 hours
Maximum sustained wind speed: Near 145mph with higher gusts
Size of system: Hurricane force winds extend out 70 miles from the centre, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 150 miles.
Position: 130 miles SSW of Kingston, 335 miles SE of Grand Cayman, 293 SSE of Cayman Brac
The NHC will be monitoring the situation closely and will meet again at 4:30pm today, 16 July, to further assess the risk of the system on the Cayman Islands.
The following Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale provides some rough guidance on what to expect for each category:
- Category 1 - 74-95 mph, storm surge of 4-5ft.
- Category 2 - 96-110 mph, 6-8 ft.
- Category 3 - 111-130 mph, 9-12 ft.
- Category 4 - 131-155 mph, 13-18 ft.
- Category 5 - greater than 155 mph, 18+ft.
Cayman's National Hurricane Committee issues a series of advisories when a tropical storm or hurricane enters the area.
Watch: a tropical storm or hurricane could strike within 36 hours.
Warning: a tropical storm or hurricane could strike within 24 hours. It remains in effect until the storm has passed or is no longer a threat
All Clear: This means the storm is no longer a threat, but residents know that this doesn't mean the danger is past. If a "Proclamation of Emergency" has been issued, an "All Clear" does not affect this proclamation.