Residents should therefore be making all necessary preparations, including securing homes and businesses. Marine interests should also follow these precautions.
The 7pm (local time) update from the National Hurricane Centre in Miami placed Dennis at latitude 16.3 north, longitude 72.9 west or about 280miles (455km) ESE of Kingston, Jamaica. The minimum central pressure recorded is 984 millibars.
Since the 4:00pm update, maximum sustained winds have continued to increase to near 80 mph (130 km/hour) with higher gusts. Dennis is still moving west-northwesterly, and its forward speed is down to 13mph (20 km/hour). It is expected to continue on this track, which will bring the Hurricane over, or just east of, Jamaica on Thursday afternoon.
Locally, it is estimated that eight inches or more of rain should fall in the 24 hours starting Thursday morning.
Hurricane Dennis is still projected to travel just north of the Cayman Islands. Tropical storm force winds will most likely start to affect Cayman Brac Thursday night, and Grand Cayman by Friday morning.
By current projections, Cayman Brac should feel the strongest winds of 68 mph Friday morning as the storm passes some 42 miles north east of the island. Grand Cayman can expect maximum winds of around 41 mph before daybreak on Friday.
By these projections, all dangerous winds associated with Dennis should subside by Friday afternoon, but rains are expected to continue longer.
Cayman's National Hurricane Committee (NHC) this afternoon announced that schools will not be open tomorrow (Thursday, 7 July). The NHC suggests that businesses in Cayman Brac should give employees time off to attend to personal preparations from 10:00 am tomorrow (Thursday), and on Grand Cayman from 1:00 pm.
Shelters will open as needed and these will be announced.
Flight arrangements are made for persons on Little Cayman who may wish to leave. Visitors there should check with their property managers for details, or call Cayman Airways reservations.
The NHC will meet again at 10:30 tomorrow (Thursday) morning.