Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands: NHC declares watch

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Key Message: The Cayman Islands is now under a Hurricane Watch. On its current path, Hurricane Emily is expected to pass close to the south of the Cayman Islands Saturday.

Emily is at this time a Category Three Hurricane, and some intensification is expected over the next 24 hours, taking Emily to Category Four.

The high pressure area in the vicinity of the Cayman Islands continues to raise expectations that Emily will continue on a more southerly course. However, with Emily's anticipated intensification into a dangerous Category 4 Hurricane, this weather system is a major threat to the Cayman Islands and there is always potential for change.

NHC advice to local population: The NHC this evening urged all interests to closely monitor news reports. Residents and businesses have been urged to begin planning for preparations, which should be in process tomorrow (Friday morning, 15th.).

The NHC continues to urge residents not to leave preparations until Saturday, but to begin on Friday as soon as possible.

In a comment following the 4:30 pm meeting, NHC Chairman Donnie Ebanks stressed: 'It is important that everyone gives this system the attention and respect that it clearly warrants. All businesses should ensure that preparations are given priority tomorrow morning so that whenever businesses close, all preparations are complete. At the same time, employers should ensure that employees are given opportunity to attend to personal arrangements if necessary. Coming so close on the heels of the preparations for Hurricane Dennis, it should be quite feasible for most businesses to meet both of these important obligations and still maintain normal operating hours tomorrow (Friday),' said Chairman Donnie Ebanks.

NHC actions: Committee chairmen were expected to commence preparations in their various areas on Friday morning, including shuttering government buildings and preparing shelters, etc.

Details of Weather System at 10 pm Thursday:

Longitude: 67.5 West

Latitude: 13.6 N

Speed of system and direction of movement: Moving WNW, at 20 MPH, and this motion is expected to continue over the next 24 hours

Maximum sustained wind speed: Near 125 mph

Hurricane force winds extend out 25 miles from the centre, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 125 miles.

The forecast calls for some intensification over the next 24 hours.

Further information:

The NHC will be monitoring the situation throughout the night, and will meet at 10:30 tomorrow (Friday) morning to consider the 10 am advisory from the National Hurricane Centre in Miami.

Background:

Storm Basics: A "hurricane" is the most severe category of the meteorological phenomenon known as the "tropical cyclone," categorised based on their wind speeds:

Tropical depression: 38 mph or less

Tropical storm : 39-73 mph

Hurricane: over 74 mph

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, 912 ft.

Category 4 131-155 mph, 13-18 ft.

Category 5 greater than 155 mph, 18+ft.

Storm Advisories

Cayman's National Hurricane Committee issues a series of advisories when a tropical storm or hurricane enters the area.

Alert: a tropical storm or hurricane could affect the islands within 48 hours.

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. Ik to www.gov.ky/