June is the start of the hurricane season. For the next six months (or until November 30th to be precise) we will all be watching the weather reports with avid interest. We had a small tropical depression hit us on the 1st of June and it rained constantly for about three days. What a way to start our birthday month. Hurricanes are not good for small flat islands. Rising seas caused by the storm force people to find higher ground. With the highest point only 60 feet above sea level there is not much you can do except climb on your kitchen counter or move in with somebody who has double bunks.
Luckily for us most of the major hurricanes do not hit us. The reason: the islands are so small, with relatively little landmass, that causes the hurricanes get drawn to places like Cuba, Jamaica and the US coast.
The last big hurricane to hit the Caymans was Hurricane Ivan in 2004 (a category 5 hurricane – It’s the highest category on the Saffir Simpson Scale with winds over 250kph = Catastrophic). It wiped out most of the Grand Cayman and the islands were lost off the weather satellites for most of the storm. The locals tell stories of there being not a leaf on any tree, cars and houses totally destroyed, no electricity or fuel for weeks, masses of flies and mosquitoes and more importantly no cold beer. It took 3 to 8 weeks for the telephones and electricity to be restored and about 2 weeks before anybody had running water. Driving around the island you can still see houses damaged by Ivan. Across the road from us is (was) a large resort. Dolphin Resort is now a mass of twisted rubble structures. You get an idea of how powerful these storms can be. (See pics below). It has plenty of potential and would make a fantastic condo or timeshare development (if I had the cash)(and the islands weren’t hit by massive hurricanes). I must say the experts say the chances of being hit by a really big Ivan will only happen once very 35 years. I’m sure Margot and I will be gone by then.
For the next couple of weeks we will be stocking up on storm supplies. The experts say we should get enough canned food and bottled water to last for 5 to 7 days. Put all our valuable belongings in waterproof containers (that would be my laptop as I can’t afford to fix it again)(oh, and our passports and air tickets – just in case we have to escape). Margot says I’m attracting a big storm by the laws of attraction. No likely to be my fault as all the islanders talk about is hurricanes.
Not to worry we’ll all be safe. Even though this is the rainy season we only get rain if a tropical depression settles over the island. The rain is normally only heavy for a few hours and then the sun comes out. OK, that’s not entirely true. Its been raining almost continuously for the last two days. June’s average rainfall is only supposed to be 6.51 inches or 16.535 cm. I’m sure we’ve had more than that already.
Anyway, enough about the weather. I’ll write about our more exciting adventures next time.
Hurricanes are caused by:
* Warm wet mass of air over the sea that begin to evaporate
* Water has to be 79 degrees Fahrenheit(26•C) or warmer
* Combined actions of air, water, and heat produce a huge spinning system of clouds rain and wind
* Rain causes floods
* Thunderstorms are produced
* Wind smashes everything in its path
* The most dangerous part of a hurricane is the storm surge
* Wind causes ocean waves to rise over the land these waves can reach 30 feet in height