Spare a thought tonight for our friends in Jamaica and Cayman who tonight are frantically preparing to take a beating from Hurricane Dean which has grown into a category 4 storm at the time of writing, and is projected to become a catastrophic category 5 storm by tomorrow. A bulletin from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) an excerpt from which appears below shows some of the moves already being made even before the hurricane strikes.
5. Hurricane Dean is predicted to hit the southern coast of Haiti late Saturday (18 August), and is due to hit Jamaica on Sunday (19 August), possibly strengthening to Category 4, with winds between 131 and 155 mph. It could reach Yucatan, Mexico, two days later.
8. Regional Response: In response to the threat posed by Hurricane Dean, the CDERA Coordinating Unit is in constant contact with the National Disaster Offices. The CDERA Coordinating Unit is urging States to ensure that all national preparedness and readiness actions are rushed to completion.
11. A second meeting of the Eastern Caribbean Donor Group (ECDG) was convened on 17 August. Given the preliminary reports received from Dominica and Saint Lucia, it anticipates a Level One or Level two response. As a result the Rapid Needs Assessment Teams (RNAT) will not be deployed at this time.
13. The Regional Response Mechanism remains on STANDBY, meaning that all elements of the RRM should take the necessary preparatory actions in accordance with their respective plans to ensure that a speedy and efficient response may be mounted if a full activation is declared.
It looks very grim for both islands at this point all of the models agree on a current path for a direct hit. From what we can see other countries should be readying for a massive relief effort to these islands after the storm. Cayman Islands who have only recently recovered from being devastated by Hurricane Ivan a few years ago, are probably better prepared for this storm that Jamaica, whose last major hurricane was Gilbert in 1988.
We on the margin wish our friends and fellow bloggers in Jamaica and Cayman, the best of luck and we hope to hear from you on Monday.