Historically, Turks and Caicos have been extremely lucky with hurricanes slipping by with minimal damage, but the Turks and Caicos just isn’t getting a break this hurricane season. Shortly after facing the full strength of Hurricane Irma, it looks like we need to prepare for Category 4 Hurricane Maria.
Turks and Caicos in Hurricane Maria’s Path?
As of September 19, the National Weather Service forecasts that Hurricane Maria (a Category 4 hurricane) “is expected to come close to the Turks and Caicos… which is under a hurricane watch.”
The Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority announced on its Facebook page today that there “will be temporary suspension of flight operations on Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 at 8:00 pm local time.”
The press release continued that “suspension of flight operations will affect all airports including; Providenciales, Grand Turk, North Caicos, South Caicos and Salt Cay airports.”
Paul Wilkerson, a meteorologist with more than 20 years of forecasting experience, noted on his Facebook page, that as of the most recent data (September 19), “the hurricane will track to the NE of the [TCI]. If it continues west for a long period of time, it will possibly be closer or over TCI.”
According to current forecasts, Grand Turk will see the closest approach of the hurricane while Providenciales and West Caicos experiencing the least affects which is where we are based. Luckily work can continue on re-building the office and getting ready for the season ahead.
Estimated Timing for Hurricane Impacts:
- Grand Turk and Salt Cay: Thursday evening after 8 pm
- South and Middle Caicos: Thursday evening after 9 pm
- North Caicos: Thursday after 9 pm
- Providenciales: Thursday after 10 pm
- West Caicos: Thursday after midnight
Storm Surge Warning:
Wilkerson believes that storm surges will most likely occur on all north facing shores. Grace Bay has already seen large amounts of erosion damage caused by Hurricane Irma’s surges and wave action but as seen with Irma the Wall helped protect the Islands from this surge, and this storm is passing farther north of us.
- Grand Turk: 8-12″
- South, Middle, and North Caicos: 6-10″
- Providenciales: 6-8″
- West Caicos: 4-6″
Maria will in no way be as dramatic as Irma for the Islands, but again this show of power and dominance from nature makes us all feel more humble.