Squally conditions in northwest Caribbean as Rina heads for Mexico
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said the Category 2 system could reach Cuba and the Straits of Florida early next week.
GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands, Wednesday October 26, 2011 - Rina is on track to develop into a Category 3 hurricane as its heads towards Mexico and the island of Cozumel. Forecasters say it could reach Cuba and the Straits of Florida early next week.
The system is forecast to cause sea swells of up to seven feet along the immediate coast near to the right of the track of the centre.
In the Cayman Islands, residents were warned of swells of six feet and higher along the South and West coasts.
“Increased flooding of low-lying areas is expected and residents of such areas are advised to take the necessary precautions,” the Cayman Islands Weather Service warned.
“Residents are also encouraged to endure their hurricane kits are up-to-date in case Hurricane Rina becomes a major threat to the Cayman Islands.”
Residents were also told to “exercise care when driving along the coastal road in George Town and also north of the Public Beach on West Bay Road as some waves have breached the coastline and there is sand and debris in the road.”
A large area of severe weather associated with the system will continue to affect the northwest Caribbean, including the Cayman Islands Wednesday and Thursday with sporadic showers and thunderstorms, squally conditions and rough seas forecast.
In Mexico, up to 500 people are likely to be evacuated and taken to emergency shelters.
Carnival Cruise Lines said at least eight cruise ships were changing itineraries as a result.
Three Norwegian Cruise Line ships and one from Royal Caribbean have canceled their Friday port of call in the area.
Earlier today, the storm was packing maximum sustained winds near 110 miles per hour with higher gusts.
The centre was located near latitude 17.6 north longitude 85.3 west.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said the Category 2 storm is moving towards the west near four miles per hour with a gradual turn to the northwest expected later today before it turns toward the north late Thursday.
The Hurricane Center cautioned "there is great uncertainty as to where Rina will be located by the weekend."