Hurricanes in the Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands may be a Caribbean paradise, but during the summer and autumn it can turn nasty. As from June to the end of November it’s Hurricane Season in the Caribbean.
What is a Hurricane?
A hurricane is a kind of tropical cyclone, which in the northern hemisphere rotate in a counter clockwise manner. These tropical cyclones are described as follows
- Tropical Depression – persistent clouds and thunderstorms, a closed low level circulation and sustained winds of up to 38mph (33knots)
- Tropical Storm – strong thunderstorms, and maximum winds between 39 and 73mph (34-63 knots)
- Hurricane – sustained winds of 74mph (64 knots) or higher
A direct hit on any island is rare, but it does happen. The damage left behind depends on the severity of the storm. A hurricane is described by its ‘category’ in the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, which can change numerous times during the life of the storm. There are five categories.
- Category 1 – winds 74 to 95mph. There may be some coastal flooding, and damage to trees and unanchored mobile homes
- Category 2 – winds 96 to 110mph. Damage to roofs, doors and windows. Flooding damage to piers and trees/shrubbery
- Category 3 – winds 111 to 130mph. Some structural damage, large trees blown down, flooding near the shoreline, may also occur inland, mobile homes destroyed.
- Category 4 – winds 131 to 155mph. Extensive damage to doors and windows, massive damage to lower floors near shoreline, floods move further inland
- Category 5 – winds over 156mph. Complete roof failure, some building destroyed, mass evacuation, major flooding damage to all lower floors of buildings near shore.
When holidaying in the Cayman Islands during the Hurricane Season, ensure that you know the evacuation procedure for your accommodation, and practise the route, especially if you have children. If the route has been practised and learnt, then should you need to use it for real it will make you feel that little more secure.