July 2008

… that is the question! For the last few weeks, it would seem that rainy season is here perpetually.  Then we got TS Dolly which left us with 8 inches of rain and then it seems to rain everyday a few minutes or so.

About Dolly.  Julie & I were sitting at the airport on the morning she visited Cayman.  I remember looking outside at the Boeing 737 and thinking we were not going anywhere that day ; it was raining very hard and windy.  Then, the weather died down *a bit* and they had us board the plane in small groups of 15-20 people. It was like out of “the A-team” … the group made a dash to the plane in the rain and as soon as one was group in, the next followed.  As soon as everyone was sitting, the pilot got us on our way in a jiffy before the wind picked up again!  Once off the ground, I have never seen a pilot take such a steep climb angle ; he wanted out of that storm and fast!

After some rain just last week-end … the gap between our house and next door had about 2″ of water.

Here is the backyard partially flooded. The vacant lot next to the house was completely flooded.  There are masses of mosquitoes at night now with all the standing water.  Not fun to take the dog for a walk. 🙁

This is typical … dark clouds, raining and sunny at the same time. It seems that these clouds just roll by, dump massive amounts of water and 10 minutes later its nice again.  I washed the car on Sunday … its already dirty again. For the next while I will probably stick to only cleaning the inside.

On Saturday, we had our office beach party.  We almost did not go.  It was raining all morning in Savannah and figured the beach would be the same.  I then got a message from a friend who lives not to far from the beach and she told me that not a drop of rain had fallen all day in that area ; go figure!  Here is the smoking BBQ with fabulous burgers & ribs.

Finally, since it was a family beach party, we took our Husky Aipa with us!  She definitely enjoyed sharing a hamburger with me and all the attention she got from everyone there.

The last few days we have been monitoring a “tropical wave” of weather (called for now Invest 94. Only hurricanes get names) that started out near Barbados and has been moving west the last few days. It looks like it will pass way south of Cayman! Today & sunday lots of rain is expected here, but not much more since the “core” of the system is not near us. Just in case there are high winds (it is possible) all the shutters are up. We had already put most of them up, so it only took me 20 minutes or so to put the last ones on.

This week we had quite a few very heavy periods of rain. Here are some pictures I took with my Blackberry when driving home one afternoon.

Just outside the parking lot where I work, the road always gets flooded after very heavy rain. Those that have very small cars have trouble getting out since 8-10 inches (my estimate) of water accumulates and takes a few hours to drain into the ground and surrounding land (there are no water drain systems here)

On the drive home.

The cricket field. Completely flooded.

The neighborhood we have to watch is called … the Caribbean! Unfortunately the 2008 hurricane season is underway (since June 1st) and the first major hurricane has formed; its called Bertha and is thankfully not coming even close to the Cayman Islands. Bertha is now a category 3 storm (1 being the “smallest” and 5 a catastrophic type storm) and may be headed to Bermuda. Lets hope is stays away.

To be sure we are fully aware of the situation and ready, we use the following as our main sources of information:

  • http://www.nhc.noaa.gov The National Hurricane Center of the US government is a great site for Hurricane information and frequently updated news on approaching storms. They even send out email alerts which I get on my Blackberry a few times a day to inform about the progression of a storm.
  • http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/?index_region=at This is probably the most comprehensive site. The “computer models” for each storm is great and shows what respected weather forecasters around the globe think the storm will do by using sophisticated modeling techniques. (see picture below) Of course, they are not always correct. Last year with dean they all though it would be a direct hit on Grand Cayman and in the end it missed the island by 150miles.
  • http://www.stormcarib.com/ This site is great since there are “collaborators” from many islands that send in reports of what is happening in their area. Its great reading. I send in a message once in a while in the Cayman section.

If anything comes towards Cayman, we are 1000x better prepared than last year. We now have full shutters on the house, have already fully revised our hurricane kit/list and would be ready in less than one day. All we really would have to do is get important stuff to my office, bring stuff inside (e.g: satellite dish) and go to my office with dog & bird. Lets just hope we don’t need to!

The computer models I was talking about. Bermuda is the small spec just below 35n and along 65w. If the storm does not turn as planned, then they may be in for some rough weather.