Key Message: All residents of Grand Cayman should have completed their preparations for Hurricane Emily by this time and should be where they intend to ride out the storm. If not, the NHC is urging you to finish preparations as a matter of urgency.
Residents of the southern coasts and flood-prone areas of Grand Cayman in particular are urged to secure their homes and move to a safer location either with family or friends, or in a public shelter.
Battering waves of up to 12 feet can be expected along the southern coast including East End, Bodden Town, Spotts and South Sound overnight, while some beach erosion is anticipated along Seven Mile Beach and the northwest point area of West Bay. While storm surge is not expected to be a major factor, it could add to the flooding potential along the southern coast. Rainfall of up to three inches is still expected and this could add even further to the likelihood of flooding of low-laying areas.
The NHC is reminding residents of these areas that the main roads in the districts are along the coast and could become impassible as the night wears on. In addition, it is expected that the RCIP will announce a curfew for tonight. People therefore need to get off the roads as quickly as possible.
All shelters except the East End Primary School are open and residents have already begun to go there.
Tropical storm force winds are expected to commence at 10-11 o'clock tonight.
NHC Chairman Donovan Ebanks, wants the public to know that emergency rescue crews will not be able to venture out to respond to calls for assistance once tropical storm force winds begin as their own lives would be endangered. People must ensure that they are in the safest location possible before the onset of tropical storm force winds.
On its current path, the closest point of approach to Grand Cayman from Emily's centre will be 96 miles south-southwest of Grand Cayman, at about 4:00AM on Sunday. At this point, winds are forecast to be around 64 mph, with higher gusts reaching upwards of 70mph (minimal Category 1).
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.
Utilities: In addition to hastening remaining preparations, residents should be aware that the Water Authority will be shutting down the water distribution network at 8 p.m. Water supply will not return until tomorrow when the system has passed and checks to the water mains have been made. The Cayman Water Company will remain in operation for as long as possible, as will CUC. Residents in areas supplied by the Water Authority should ensure they store water to last at least through tomorrow.
All shelters on Grand Cayman, except East End Primary School, are open.
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 9:00p.
Details of Weather System at 4:00PM, Saturday:
Longitude: 78.8 West
Latitude: 16.8 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 155mph with higher gusts
Size of system: Hurricane force winds extend out 60 miles from the centre, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 150 miles.
138 miles SSE of Montego Bay
235 miles SSE of Grand Cayman
212 SSE of Cayman Brac
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 around 3 inches is expected and may lead to some flooding in low-lying areas.
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 mid-morning (10:00/11:00AM) on Sunday.
The NHC's Emergency Operation Centre will be activated this evening at 8:00PM and will be closely monitoring developments throughout the night. Residents should stay tuned to local media for further updates.
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.
NHC Media Centre: 949-8092, 946-3333
GLIDE REF: TC-2005-000115-CYM