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Moving West and Strengthening

Published 30th August 2017, 11:12am

NEWLY FORMED TROPICAL STORM IRMA

At 1000 AM (1500 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Irma was located near latitude 16.4 North, longitude 30.3 West. Irma is moving toward the west near 11 knots (13 mph) and this general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days.

Satellite wind data indicate that the maximum sustained winds are near 43 knots (50 mph) with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours and Irma could become a hurricane on Friday.

THIS STORM POSES NO IMMEDIATE THREAT TO THE CAYMAN ISLANDS. THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS STORM

Residents are reminded that we are now entering the traditionally more active peak time of the hurricane season. So far the season has featured 9 named storms including the first major hurricane (Harvey)to make landfall in the United States since Wilma in 2005. For the third consecutive year activity began early, with the formation of Tropical Storm Arlene on April 19, nearly a month and a half before the official start of the season. On August 9th - NOAA released their final outlook for the season, raising their predictions to 14-19 named storms, though retaining 5-9 hurricanes and 2-5 major hurricanes. They also stated that the season has the potential to be extremely active, possibly the most active since 2010.

We shouldn't assume that because we have not been impacted yet that the rest of the season will end quietly, the people of Cayman should not drop their guard. Regardless of the forecast for the season, it only takes one storm to cause damage and disrupt our lives.

If you have used up your emergency stock of non-perishable food and emergency water supplies it is time to replace them.

Cut back trees that overhang buildings, check that shutters work and that insurance premiums are up-to-date.

All residents should have a flashlight, a battery operated radio and plan that includes knowing where you will ride out a storm. Storm surge is the primary threat to life. The surge in past hurricanes has exceeded 20 feet; so if you live on the coast or in a low lying area, it is likely you will want to move to a less vulnerable location. Residents are reminded that shelters are not equipped to take pets, therefore alternative arrangements should be made.

If you intend to leave the Islands prior to, or after a hurricane, you must ensure that all travel documents are updated and that visas or visa waivers are obtained. You must also bear in mind that passports are no longer issued locally

Try to take 15 minutes to review your family plans and level of personal preparedness for the remainder of the hurricane season. A full list of supplies for your disaster preparedness kit can be found on the website caymanprepared.ky or pick up a copy of the hurricane information brochure at the ground floor of the Government building

It is important to take steps to minimize your dependence on Government, family or friends to support you in the aftermath of a storm, so begin taking the steps needed to get prepared

Civil servants are reminded that they have a duty to maintain a high level of personal and family preparedness at all times. The country depends on our Emergency Services and First Responders to be ready in a time of crisis, however all Civil Servants may be needed to contribute to the recovery process if we get impacted, including the performance of additional duties above and beyond their regular work schedule