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KY | Oct 12, 2020

Cayman Islands report minimal damage after brush with Hurricane Delta

/ Our Today

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Director of Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI), Danielle Coleman. (Photo: YouTube.com)

Missing a direct hit with the Cayman Islands by 100 kilometres, officials in the British-Caribbean territory have reported little infrastructural damage from the impact of Hurricane Delta across its six districts.

The reports, tabled by Caymanian disaster assessment teams, indicated that damage to housing stock turned out to be minimal and there was no significant inland flooding.

What’s more, damage evaluations on government buildings and other key facilities in each district of the territory found just a few areas where storm surges impacted the coastal shoreline.

According to Danielle Coleman, director of Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI), teams stationed in every district were recently trained in the use of geographical information systems (GIS) software purchased in 2019.

As the three-island territory braced for fallout, Coleman further explained that smartphones, paired with the GIS technology allowed team members at the National Emergency Operations Centre to view information on an electronic map of the island, as it was being entered by the teams.

Coleman added that this latest exercise helped to demonstrate that Cayman is increasingly well-prepared for more serious disasters, as it adapts and improves its response.

Teams consisted of trained personnel from the Cayman Islands Department of Planning, Public Works Department (PWD) as well as members of the Community Emergency Response. 

The National Emergency Management Council officially issued the ‘all clear’ for the Cayman Islands at 1:00 pm on Tuesday (October 6) after concluding the worst effects from Hurricane Delta had passed. 

Captured by satellite imagery, Tropical Storm Delta—obscuring the Cayman Islands and Jamaica— showed its first signs of intesification on Monday afternoon, October 5. Within hours, the system was a category four system, packing maximum sustained winds of 233 kilomtres/hour, with higher gusts. (Photo: worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov)

The territory was put on alert from Sunday when tropical storm warnings were issued for the islands of Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. At the time, advisories were first initiated on Potential Tropical Cyclone Twenty-Six—located just off the southern edge of Jamaica—which would later develop into Delta, the 2020 hurricane season’s 25th named system.

Public schools across the Cayman Islands were closed between Monday and Tuesday as rainbands associated with fast-intensifying Delta were forecast to bring high winds and flooding to the islands. 

Hurricane Delta strengthened into a powerful category four storm as it barrelled past Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, towards the US Gulf Coast.

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