Still projected to travel just north of the Cayman Islands, Hurricane Dennis is now about 544 miles SE of Cayman Brac. Tropical storm force winds will most likely start to affect Cayman Brac around 8:00 pm Thursday, 8 July, and Grand Cayman by 3:00 am Friday, 9 July. If current projections hold, Cayman Brac should feel the strongest winds of 68 mph on early Friday morning around 3:00 am as the storm passes a predicted 42 miles north east of the island. Grand Cayman can expect maximum winds of around 41 mph before daybreak on Friday. All three islands should be out of all dangerous winds associated with Dennis by 2:00 pm Friday.
Based on the current projections, the National Hurricane Committee will be upgrading the current Hurricane Watch to a Hurricane Warning at 10:00 pm tonight.
The north and western coasts of all three islands will see significant wave action and residents living close to shore should take all necessary precautions.
After considering the 4p.m. Miami National Hurricane Centre advisory at its 4:30 pm meeting this afternoon, the NHC announced that all schools would be closed tomorrow (Thursday, 7 July) in keeping with the C.I. National Hurricane Plan. The NHC has also advised businesses in Cayman Brac that employees should be given the opportunity to attend to personal preparations from 10:00 am tomorrow, and businesses in Grand Cayman should do likewise from 1:00 pm. Government offices will follow the same suggestion.
Shelters will open as needed and these will be announced.
Arrangements are being made for flights to accommodate persons on Little Cayman who may wish to leave. Visitors on Little Cayman should check with their property managers for details or call Cayman Airways reservations
NHC Chairman Donovan Ebanks advises the public to closely monitor the progress of this storm and to begin personal and business preparations if they haven=12t yet done so. While Dennis has held closely to all projections and is still not expected to pass directly over the Cayman Islands, any shift in the storm=12s course or size could place Cayman is greater danger.
The NHC will meet again tomorrow at 10:30 am.
At 4:00 pm today, Hurricane Dennis was located near latitude 16.0 north, longitude 72.5 west or about 315 miles ESE of Kingston, Jamaica and 627 miles SE of Grand Cayman. Dennis is moving towards the west-northwest near 14mph and this motion is expected to continue. On this track, Dennis will be near Jamaica early Thursday.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 70 mph with higher gusts.