NRA tackling flooding after deluge

| 25/06/2019 | 127 Comments
Cayman News Service
Flooding at Owen Roberts International Airport, 25 June 2019

(CNS): A heavy downpour of rain over George Town on Tuesday saw the roads in and around the capital awash with water; the rain also breached the new arrivals hall of the recently renovated Owen Roberts International Airport. Traffic was snarled up in the unexpected deluge, which flooded the Humane Society and other buildings. Officials from the National Roads Authority issued a short notice Tuesday evening, stating that NRA staff and private sector partners were working hard to address the flooding in the most affected low-lying areas.

The NRA urged drivers to be vigilant given the high water levels in some areas, reminding them to be alert and courteous to other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists using the roads.

Cayman News Service
Flooded road in Grand Cayman, 25 June 2019

Airport officials told CNS that they did experience flooding as a result of the downpour and they will be holding an incident meeting Wednesday “to determine exactly what happened and why, after which time we’ll be able to provide more details and information”.

According to the National Weather Service, Grand Cayman can expect more rain and thunderstorms over the next few days, with forecasters calling for a 40% chance of rain until the weekend.

See video footage below taken at ORIA today:

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Category: Science & Nature, Weather

Comments (127)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Great! Now we need lifeguards at the airport! As long as they put in a swim up bar, I’m cool with it.

  2. SKEPTICAL says:

    Maybe “Moses” Kirkconnell could stay at ORIA and “part the waters” for tourists when there is heavy rain….

  3. Anonymous says:

    Chris Johnson, that airport terminal was not there in 1968, that area was all fruit trees! The terminal was built 1983 – 1984. The main contractor was Arch & Godfrey.

    However, this problem is clearly the failure of the architects of the new (present building) failing to realize that they enclosed the overflow vents, project management (failure to recognize that architects enclosed the vents) and management (failure to realize that architects enclosed the vents and that project management overlooked that failure).

    Why? Because the present large CIAA management team at ORIA has collectively about 10 years experience in airport management and the CEO has only 5!

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    • Ron Ebanks says:

      I hope that Government see. The flooding problem on the roads and at the Airport and the the hurricane season just started .

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Oh, look, the seas are rising!

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    • Anonymous says:

      The seas rising in the Miami area appears to be becoming a bigger problem by the month. Wonder if we are starting to see the same problem here?

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Would have been a perfect day for the premiers and delegates to have been at the airport.fancy clothes and shoes all wet with the nasty rain.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Brown envelopes. Kickbacks. Shady dealings. Silly handshakes. How old is your granny?

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  7. Anonymous says:

    If we are okay with the lake at the beginning of the runway, which attracts birds…why not a little water in the airport too? 🙂

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    • Anonymous says:

      And here’s another bright idea, filling the ponds around the airport for fear of bird strikes. Guess this was another consulting firm recommendations?? Question, where will all the water go? Let’s face it people constructing highways and developments higher than surrounding areas will flood somewhere else unless you intend to increase the heights of existing developments. Drain wells are not the answer either they will either get clogged or dissipate the water underground and raise the water levels in low lying areas such as what is now being seen. Good luck Cayman.

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      • Bird Brain says:

        7.56pm Don’t get too excited plans to fill the ponds have been in the works for the last 30 years but the birds have successfully lobbied against it.

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        • Anonymous says:

          The real lobby group is the depth of them there ponds. (That’s a lot of fill to pay for.) And the wish, every time it rains, that they were a bit deeper.

          • Pete says:

            Anon 152; Maybe you would prefer to pay for a major plane crash. High death total plus the financial loss. Filling those by comparison is chicken feed.

            Please talk and make sense. Just because of the problems at the airport.

            • R- Egret says:

              Pete. I agree it’s dangerous but only when aircraft are taking off in that direction. But the ponds have provided drainage, what happens to all the rain if they are filled?. Do we assume this will occasion more flooding beneath our magnificent arches?.

          • Anonymous says:

            They are not as deep as people think they are. Deepest spot is only about six feet.

  8. Anonymous says:

    For those that don’t understand how construction contracts work the CONTRACTOR only builds the design approved by the ARCHITECT/ENGINEERS.
    It looks bad for those that were meant to plan and engineer the job.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Not sure who should be more embarrassed. The architect or the construction company.. I mean something was done to change things because it sure didn’t flood prior to the changes.
    I didn’t leave after Ivan (the Cat4-5 hurricane…) so I have no idea if it flooded then but I didn’t think that it did. Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Cayman needs a purge of leadership.

    – Whodatis

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    • Anonymous says:

      Time for the young to step up to the plate.

      Though I suspect that there is an age limit to become a member at the lodge…

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      • Anonymous says:

        Agreed x 2.

        I’m already #1 Foe for one or two senior lodge members, for personal reasons, so I know I’ll have a warm ol’ time when that time comes.

        Watch this space tho…

        😉

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      • Anonymous says:

        Only the young can save Cayman as the old boys and girls have sold out totally to developers and their friends. Sort of like the idea of a Green Party.

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      • Anon says:

        I keep seeing references to this mysterious lodge – I had no idea we have beavers here.

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    • Anonymous says:

      O.K., Whodatis. Where do we find any leadership to purge?

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  11. Chet Oswald Ebanks says:

    My, My Another total waste of the People’s hard earned money wasted, destroyed in water. Don’t these idiots realize we are flat and any building built needs to be evulated. Wonder what the wonderfull so called Unity Government gonna do about it. We needed a totally new airport, not money wasted on a half done, not to mention TOTALLY UGLY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. IT’S already at capacity. Fire the whole bunch of those involved in creating this mess. Just wait till another Ivan hits these shores. Then maybe the so called Unity Government will realize the people of this country deserve better. What we need is a Government that values it’s people.

    And the call this Cayman Kind. Am laughing cause its all we can do. Wait till rainy season really starts, airport will continue to flood and we the public will be again the losers. Bunch of dumb minds doing dumb buildings.

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  12. Say it like it is says:

    I sincerely hope Juju”s magnificent arches are not leaking, they cost a fortune without any functionality in return, except to water the airport’s indoor plants?.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    CNS – just on the back of my last comment (and perhaps you will agree) but i think the headline for the article is somewhat misleading and doesn’t fully elude to the problems experienced at Owen Roberts… “the NRA tackling flooding after deluge”… yes the roads are flooded, but that is to be expected when it rains…

    In my opinion, the real story here is that the airport, which was recently “upgraded” to the tune of 60mn dollars, and services some 2mn people per annum, now expects travellers to swim to their gate / check in counter…

    Not sure if you’re working on this already, but in my opinion, this really needs its own article with more questions / definitive answers from all involved with the project and what the contingency plans are going forward. Moreso as these same procurement practices will likely be employed for the berthing facility, and if these clowns can’t even see that rain will be an issue with the airport, god knows what will happen with the port.

    – Maximus

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  14. Anonymous says:

    It boggles my mind that between the Architects, Contractors, CIAA, or anyone with at least half a brain that was involved with this project, no-one stopped to think… “what happens when it rains?”…………………………………………….. for real?

    Bear in mind folks, while there was a downpour yesterday, it was nowhere near the level of rain that we have seen in previous years… and i’m not even talking hurricanes here… just you know, normal… seasonal rain…

    – What happens when it rains for 7-14 days consistently?

    – What happens when the Cat 2/3/4/5 storm comes through?

    I can here the CIAA now… “not to worry passengers, we have a contingency plan – we have a complimentary poncho for you as you enter the arrivals / departure lounge… and for those of you who can’t swim, we also have complimentary arm bands, just in case…”

    What a joke

    – Maximus

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    • Anonymous says:

      No storm cloud without a silver lining – new PPP business opportunity – Cayman branded water boots for CIAA.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Airport flooded after one deluge! So more or less the only way for the vast majority of people to leave the Island in case of a hurricane is to…… Hmm, suppose we’d better pray that there are no hurricanes.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    To be fair, nobody would have expected rain at this time of year.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Humane society flooding expected. New airport? – NO!
    This was not even a ‘storm’. New airport flooding – No, No.

    Quick fix for airport (assuming it was ‘rain on the ground’ and not ‘rain through the roof’ flooding) – re-dig the eastern swales (drainage ditches) that should run the length of the runway to drain the airport into the North Sound. All water looks for is the lowest point, give it a lower point off of the airplane parking area (than the interior of the airport) and it will run that way. – Even as I write this I still can’t believe that the flooding was from ‘rain on the ground’.

    Bigger problem for everyone in George Town is global climate change. With sea level (water table) rise deep wells are going to become less effective and there are going to be more occasions where a high (or king) tide coincides with a rain (not even a storm) event and … flooding of low-lying areas occurs. As someone else alluded to, we should have learned when we built Industrial Park – Don’t Fill the Wetlands. The water needs somewhere to run off to and the best plan is to leave the areas it already goes as catchment areas for future rains. But historic infrastructure and housing built in low-lying areas will continue to be at increasing risk of flooding until they are abandoned or rebuilt. – Except, apparently, the airport, where a rebuild caused the problem. 🙁

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  18. Al Catraz says:

    Oh, come now, everyone. Hindsight is always 20/20. No one involved in planning the airport renovation could have expected it to rain. They aren’t psychic.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Damn right, it never ever rained here before, how could they know? Had it ever rained here before and in such quantities, without doubt they would have raised the floor a few feet and ensured the roof was watertight. Makes sense, right? Nobody would do anything so dumb as not to do such things, had they any clue as to what could happen.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    So the Fire Marshall is okay with passengers being ankle deep in water? How many safety standards were violated?

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  20. Anonymous says:

    We need a new airport that is not in the middle of town.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    How come Compass won’t report this serious Airport flooding??!

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  22. Anonymous says:

    That’s OUR $65 million (and counting) wasted by the Lodge-controlled Airports Authority and Ministry of Aviation!!

    I bet there will be no accountability from Project Management, Contractors, or Airport Management!!

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  23. Anonymous says:

    We not see flooding yet jn George Town. Wait till they build that port!!!

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  24. Johnny Be Good says:

    Suck it up Cayman. More of this expected in the coming years. The airport and industrial park are barely a foot above water table on a good day.

    Don’t worry, we need a new new airport anyway. Hopefully it will be slated for further east on higher ground. Then ORIA will be relegated to taking sea planes only, or maybe cruise ships…

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    • Anonymous says:

      Why don’t they lay runways and build an airport on the top of the Dump? Won’t get flooded.

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      • Johnny Be Good says:

        You sir are a genius! Ever considered going for the CIAA director’s job? Maybe you’re too much of a straight shooter though😒

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  25. Anonymous says:

    What did we think was going to happen when we paved over almost everything and have drains that go into the very high aquifer? You build on a swamp and when it’s full, it’s full! I can recall dozens of times seemingly minor amounts of rain caused various streets to flood, and yet we still keep on building and paving.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    People don’t adequately consider drainage here before developing. It doesn’t help when the CPA approves developments without proper drainage plans, and tacks them on as a condition if they feel so inclined. Considering how predictably unpredictable rain is here, it is embarrassing that people are allowed to build without proper drainage controls.

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  27. Anonymous says:

    And we are supposed to trust these incompetents with 500mil to build a port?? Sign the petition and stop the madness!

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  28. Anonymous says:

    I was at the airport yesterday when this happened. It was not only bagged and arrivals but also the entire departures area. Completely embarrassing that 1 rainy day caused chaos at the airport.

    I heard staff mention that there was flooding above on the 2nd and 3rd floors. Sounded like there are more problems with the roof as well as drainage.

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  29. Anonymous says:

    I’m a pretty easy going person, but if I had to stand in water with my luggage or sit with my feet up for an hour or two to avoid my feet sitting in water from a storm ( not a hurricane), I think I would be annoyed. Not a great welcome or exit at a new airport. I hope this is an easy fix.

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  30. Anonymous says:

    Just wow! A major fiasco! Embarrassment of epic proportions!

    The flooded area wasn’t even restricted for access. Imagine a passenger slips and injures himself? A wet floor injury claim(s)? This is avoidable if administrators exercise duty of care.
    Electrocution is another risk if passengers use electrical devices and electrical outlets while their feet are in water. This applies to the animals shelter or any flooded building

    * Never go into a flood-damaged building or a basement filled with water until the utility company, fire department, or a licensed electrician has removed the home’s electrical meter from its socket.
    * Pay increased attention to grounding and bonding, and after the flood ask an electrician to conduct a thorough survey the system.
    * Even after the building is fully disconnected from the grid, never go into a flooded building alone.

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  31. Anonymous says:

    3rd world ppm/civil service nonsense. end of story.
    btw…where is the severe weather forecast???

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    • Anonymous says:

      The Canadians should have built the airport. Go super cheap and this is what you get. There are no corners to cut when building a modern airport.

      Jetways would have been great yesterday too. Everyone was getting wet.

      And we want to build 50 storey buildings?

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      • Anonymous says:

        I dunno, I guess if the Canadian’s had built it at least the roof would withstand tons of snow!

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      • L.D. says:

        What the WHAT. I am not an engineer, architect, or member of the planning department. I have had many buildings built in the US. and always had to consider the 100 yr. flood mark and build above it. This is so DUH it goes beyond the pale of DUHNESS.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I was recently in Bermuda and the new airport being built by the Canadians there is looking magnificent. Will be interesting to compare the 2 airports when the Bermuda one opens next year.

        Comparing the final prices taking into account the Cayman Airport cost overruns, will probably reveal the prices would be the same with Jetways in Bermuda. Canadians were totally honest with their Cayman bid price which ended up costing them the tender bid in the end.

        Cayman can learn a lot from Bermuda with their excellent bus system and probably a much better modern airport.

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    • Anonymous says:

      btw – this was not severe weather. Just normal summer heavy rains. (Check out the other posts, probably keen gardeners, noting a lack of heavy rain in their areas.)

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    • Anonymous says:

      That was not severe weather. That kind of rain is to be expected with some frequency until November! Now you understand why is locals do not ride around on scooters (quite apart from the terrible driving standards).

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      • Anonymous says:

        sorry…any weather that causes the problems encountered yesterday should come with a warning.
        the point is, weather forcasting around here is a shambles

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  32. Heads should roll says:

    50+ Million dollars only to have basic services at the one and only airport come to a grinding halt because of some rain

    The fact that jetways were not included so that rain has no effect on passengers and the fact that clearly no care was taken to remedy easily foreseeable issues such as seasonal torrential rains and the half year annual risk of storm surge shows you why the CIG cannot be trusted to commission or take part in capital projects on these islands

    The fact that that project was millions over-budget, late and still not entirely thought out is exactly what people who talk about what a bad idea spending 200 million dollars on a port are referring to

    The CIG has a long track record of this sort of issue

    I as a Caymanian am embarrassed for anyone who had to see that “newly renovated and improved airport essentially underwater”
    Every single minister or MLA who stood proudly in front of the project with their golden shovels or their hardhats should be made to come out publicly to explain the lack of oversight, what measures will be taken to prevent this from happening again, whom will be fired or sanctioned for not doing their jobs and finally to offer personal compensation for the egregious state of affairs at our airport

    The fact that anyone can stand up and seriously claim that this country is ready for independence is laughable

    We can’t even plan for some goddamned rain much less being entirely in control of our own country and standing in the world

    The worst part about this entire ordeal, this is only a tiny fraction of the water that a hurricane would bring our way and the airport can’t even handle this
    God forbid any actual storm comes our way because we would have to suck salt

    Heads need to roll…

    heads need to roll for this mess
    and they need to start from the top down

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  33. Johnny Rotten says:

    Ironically the architects/engineers on the ORIA job were the ones that did a drainage well study for NRA about 20 years ago. Time to get back to the drawing boards lads. What a F&@£ up!

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  34. Anonymous says:

    Caymankind 🤣

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  35. Anonymous says:

    Is.it true that all the Oria interior walls are sheetrock?! Wasn’t this same bldg flooded by Hurican Ivan?

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    • Anonymous says:

      From the video and photo reports ,it does however look like it is rain that has possibly leaked in from drainage in the roof to a larger degree , than just standing water from outside at ground level. But to be fair to the airports authority , they did not raise the entire airport building from its existing grade level during this recent update, that would have alone tripled the construction costs . Of more concern now it appears that the use of sheetrock and composite wall panels feature largely in interior walled spaces as well as the building exterior , as is now utilised in most construction jobs of this size and nature. Everyone who experienced Ivan’s passage in 2004 will recall the water depth seen at the airport region , especially those that parked cars in the long term.

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  36. NRA needs leadership says:

    The NRA is the problem. Not really anything to do. They design the roads to flood.

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  37. airport or seaport? says:

    68 million airport or a seaport? I think we got a deal. two for one.

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  38. Anonymous says:

    Jetways.

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  39. Anonymous says:

    What a mess with 70,000 cost, built it too low, i think mr Ezzard said so.Imagine what will happen with another Ivan.

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    • Anonymous says:

      When the next Ivan hits we will be totally screwed.

      The Dump will move all over the western part of the island creating an environmental disaster.

      FIX THE DUMP NOW.

      A ticking environmental time bomb waiting to happen.

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  40. Sasy it like it is says:

    This brings a new meaning to the term “jet bridges” at ORIA.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Mose showed unnah, he got the airport rebuilt and the new port in one fell swoop but he forgot the wall! What a man!

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  41. Anonymous says:

    Guess there was no room in the budget or the $20 m overrun for drains that work? Nice welcome to the island for the tourists – standing in water to get through immigration. Hate to think what all that water did to the baggage conveyors as well.

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  42. Anonymous says:

    I guess the consultants and the engineers and the architects who designed the roads and the airport did not see this one coming.

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  43. Anonymous says:

    A total joke. Any accountability?

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  44. Anonymous says:

    Meanwhile in West Bay (The Shores area) we didn’t see a drop of rain. Some dark clouds but not a drop of rain. Ugh.

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    • Anonymous says:

      None at Lantern Point either

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, I saw a satellite pic of the rain moving ONLY on top of GT. None in West Bay nor past much of South Sound. It was crazy.
      The seas were gorgeous and flat calm like a swimming pool. And no rain in the North Sound.
      Many a weekend We’ve sat in N. Sound under clear blue skies while snickering at all the down pouring you can see on the island.
      Gotta LOVE the weather in Cayman.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The rain being only in George Town is a natural phenomenon created by the central mangrove and prevailing winds. Rainfall in GT is double that elsewhere in Cayman. That (and safe anchorage) is the reason Town is where it is.

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      • Anonymous says:

        It was in South Sound for sure

      • Anonymous says:

        Obviously you’ve never lived in Florida.

        40F in the morning,

        90F by lunch,

        Unpredictable rain throughout.

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  45. Anonymous says:

    It rained. It flooded. Need drains. This is our airlift lifeline so I hope it gets resolved quickly.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The Terminal bldg. first floor is too low, we wonder how they going to build that up now, what planning, they should be ashamed of what they did and some should be fired immediately and get others in charge that have common sense.

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