Gustav changes track

| 28/08/2008

(CNS): Tropical Storm Gustav turned southwest overnight and is strengthening. The shift in track will now bring it very close to Grand Cayman tomorrow (Friday 29 August). Gustav’s centre is expected to pass very close to Jamaica later today. The forecast is for Gustav to become a category 1 hurricane near Grand Cayman early Friday afternoon. Grand Cayman is also likely to start experiencing hurricane-strength winds early tomorrow evening (29 August).

Tropical storm-force winds are likely to start affecting Grand Cayman early tomorrow afternoon. Therefore, the Cayman Islands remain under a hurricane Watch. This means that hurricane conditions could begin to affect the Islands within 36 hours. The timing of local activities such as airport closures will be announced to residents.

At 4:00 am. local time, the centre of Tropical Storm Gustav was located near 17.8 N 75.6 W, or 392 miles east-southeast of Grand Cayman, 305 miles southeast of the Sister Islands. Gustav is near stationary, with maximum sustained winds near 70mph with higher gusts.

The Sister Islands Emergency Committee continues to monitor Tropical Storm Gustav. Preparations are well in hand, and committee members are in close touch with Hazard Management Cayman Islands. Cayman Islands residents should monitor all local media outlets that carry local news in order to stay informed about Gustav.

Forecasters in Miami said that Gustav has been moving little during the past couple of hours but is expected to resume a motion toward the west-southwest and turn toward the west is expected later today as it passes very close to Jamaica. Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 70 mph with higher gusts. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 50 miles.

Rainfall accumulations of 2 to 4 inches are expected over southern Cuba, 6 to 12 inches over Jamaica and the Cayman Islands with isolated maximum amounts of up to 25 inches possible. These rains will likely produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides. Coastal storm surge flooding of 1 to 3 feet above normal tide levels can be expected in areas of onshore winds in the hurricane warning area.

Gustav is blamed for the death of 23 people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and is projected to hit the US Gulf Coast Monday. One of its likely tracks is toward New Orleans, the city devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which killed 1,500 people and caused at least $80 billion in damage in several Gulf Coast states. The Louisiana governor has already declared a state of emergencyand has called for 3,000 members of the National Guard to help prepare for the storm.

Meanwhile, in Cayman government is urging residents to complete preparations. To reduce any possibility of flying or floating debris, residents are advised to ensure that all movable construction materials are secured at jobsites and any loose tools and materials removed from yards. Residents should make sure they have food and medicine supplies, shuttering supplies, as well as important documents, including travel documents, in order. They should also look after marine interests and have a pet safety plan. Residents are also advised to check generators and make sure they have fuel, and ensure that family members and anyone who will be staying with them in the event of a storm are aware of the plan.


The Water Authority – Cayman is urging all customers to take note of the water specific tips on their website Customers are also reminded that major hurricanes do pose a serious threat to our pipelines along the coast, and therefore it may become necessary for the Authority to temporarily disrupt service in order to protect the distribution system. Should this action become necessary, the Water Authority will give as much notice as possible once the decision has been made. The Public Works Department and National Roads Authority will be closed today as both departments will begin shuttering and preparing government facilities. Anyone in need of emergency assistance may call the helpdesk at 916-6694.

Cayman Islands residents should monitor all local media outlets that carry local news in order to stay informed about Gustav and the next JIS bulletin will be at 10:30am

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