Community on alert over TS Ernesto

| 04/08/2012

Photo for NRA Hurricane Release.jpg(CNS): As Tropical Storm Ernesto moved quickly through the south-eastern Caribbean Sea on Friday evening government officials were warning the community to be prepared for the storm to pass about 123 miles southwest of Grand Cayman late Monday night when Hazard Management said tropical storm force winds would brush the island. The Core Group of the National Hazard Management Council will meet at around 4.30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon and make a decision about the closure of government offices on Monday.

Officials said after the meeting the decision would be communicated via the local media and the Cayman Prepared website.

At 5pm local time Ernesto was about 210 miles west of St. Lucia and travelling through the eastern Caribbean t around 21 miles per hour. Maximum sustained winds remained at 50 mph with higher gusts but the National hurricane Centre in Miami predicted some strengthening in the coming days. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 105 miles mainly to the north and east of the centre.

Cayman residents were advised to begin preparations for the possible arrival of the storm on Monday. Government began its own preparations at the new building in Elgin Avenue on Friday afternoon after the NHMC convened its first meeting of this year’s hurricane season. Some 30 senior officers, representing critical response agencies, such as the Meteorology Office, the Health Services Authority and RCIPS, attended the meeting.

Grand Cayman is now in the ‘Alert’ phase – 72 hours before possibly being affected by Ernesto and the

‘Watch’ stage begins tomorrow afternoon. Government workers spent Friday afternoon securing the main government building, while PWD shuttering crews and the hurricane shelter staff have been put on alert.

“The civil service should ensure the continuity of government’s operations,” said Deputy Governor Franz Manderson,

Meanwhile, the RCIPS urged home and business owners to start taking precautions to secure their property and belongings in preparation for any potential evacuation.

“If you do have to leave your property, please make sure that your doors and windows are locked and that you close your hurricane shutters if you have them,” said Acting Chief Superintendent Kurt Walton.

“If you have to leave any valuables behind, make sure that they are safely protected within your homes and that you take all necessary steps to make your premises as safe and secure as possible. You should also make sure that your valuables are security marked and that you take notes of makes, models, serial numbers and take photographs. These simple security steps will assist in the recovery of your property if it goes missing,” he added.

Walton explained that during a storm or hurricane the police have a number of jobs and include shelter security, protecting critical infrastructure and, of course, maintaining law and order.
“Any criminal activity before, during or after any storm activity will not be tolerated and those who engage in it will be dealt with appropriately,” the senior officer warned.

Business owners are reminded that they should make immediate application for curfew exemption passes. In the event of a Hurricane and the declaration of a curfew, the passes will be issued to key personnel who work within the private sector to allow them to work past the curfew times, as and when required, to assist in the post-hurricane recovery process.

The application form for the exemption passes can be found on the Hurricane Section of the RCIPS website.

The curfew applications should be filled in and taken to the nearest police station within your district. The District Commander will vet the applications which must be accompanied by a photo ID of the person whom the application is for. The District Commander will decide whether the application meets the criteria, in accordance with the Police Law 2010 Revision, Section 49 and the Police (Emergency Powers) Regulations 2004 Revision. 

Residents and businesses may see regular updates about Ernesto on the HMCI’s website ( on Facebook and Twitter accounts, Radio Cayman and all local media.

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  1. Islander says:

    The government should close offices on MOnday and Tuesday now !!

    to give people time to stock up and prepare their houses


  2. Island Time says:

    Is there a reason why on under the weather section there is a storm update for Tropical Storm Sean 11th Nov 4:00pm. Really now?  Am I missing something or someone seeing into the future?Are we suppose to follow those updates. How hard is it to cut and paste from the NHC website? We're talking about the weather and a potential hurricane. It has to be correct. Life's at risk here. Come on now!!

    • Anonymous says:

      And CaymanPrepared (which the release recomends) was last updated on Friday afternoon (its now noon Saturday as I write) seemingly skipping the morning and midday updates so far. Lets be honest and, if you're new to Cayman, don't rely solely on the local authority pages. Check one of the 'external' sites for the most up-to-date general information, leavened with the localised Cayman Weather Service updates when they're available. Since the international sources sometimes forget about us until its really close don't ignore local sources entirely. Speaking of which the Cayman National Weather Service page is updated (you can tell who is on the ball) but while its locally useful (weather will still be nice until it gets bad) there are no handy danger cones, etc. – the long and short of it is, check around for complete information.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’the civil service…… What do you expect?

      • Anonymous says:

        Our civil service motto – “Charge first class prices for a third class service”

  3. Anonymous says:

    Kurt Walton, Another Bracca you go kurt!!!!

  4. NeoSurvivor says:

    The 'Cone of Doom' is but a probability curve.   Please be prepared.   Don't be one of those people who say in the aftermath:   "It wasn't supposed to come here!"  

    NO harm in being prepared, and it helps to develop our procedures and preps. 

    Be safe all.

    • Anonymous says:

      A slightly outdated view given the narrowing of the cone in recent years because of far better predictive mechanisms. If you ain’t in the 5 day cone it ain’t coming near your zone.