Hurricane warning for Jamaica

CAROL MARTINDALE, carolmartindale@nationnews.com

Added 23 October 2012

mapofjamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Jamaica government has issued a hurricane warning for the island as it prepares for Tropical Storm Sandy that is expected to reach hurricane strength by Wednesday as it passes over the Caribbean island. Residents, especially those in low lying areas, have been warned to prepare for heavy rains accompanied by gale force winds as the 18th named weather system, which formed uncharacteristically south of Jamaica, approaches the island. Over the next couple of days, showers and thunderstorms are expected to increase significantly over Jamaica, along with strong, gusty winds,” the Meteorological Service said. Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) Ronald Jackson said flooding is a distinct possibility for some sections of the island over the next two days. While the island will also be impacted by wind, Jackson said the major impact will be from flooding. “We are expecting significant flooding for low-lying areas, with between eight and 12 inches of rainfall expected over that period,” he said, adding that shelters would be opened later on Tuesday. The Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said at 11 am (local time) the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 50 miles per hour (mph) and that “additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours. “Sandy is forecast to be a hurricane when it approaches Jamaica on Wednesday,” said the NHC, adding that on the forecast track, the center of Sandy will move near or over Jamaica on Wednesday. “Tropical storm conditions are possible in Haiti by early Wednesday. Tropical storm conditions are possible in the Central and South eastern Bahamas on Thursday,” NHC said, adding that dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as one to three feet above normal tide levels. “The surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves,” the NHC warned. (CMC)

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