Jamaicans bracing for strong winds

CAROL MARTINDALE, carolmartindale@nationnews.com

Added 24 October 2012


The Meteorological Service is warning Jamaicans to brace for strong winds this morning as Tropical Storm Sandy increases in strength and moves faster towards the island.   Jamaica is now under a hurricane warning. This means that the dangerous effects of a hurricane are expected in under 24 hours.   These include dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and exceptionally high waves. Average winds are expected to reach 64 knots (118 km/h) or higher. The Met Service says on the current forecast track, winds will increase to tropical storm force this morning, initially coming out of the east.  As Sandy makes landfall near Kingston during the mid-afternoon, eastern parishes will experience hurricane-force winds out of the south while central and western parishes will feel northerly winds of slightly lower intensity.   Communities in the path of the centre of the hurricane will experience a change in wind direction from easterly to westerly as Sandy makes its way to the north coast over eastern St Mary this evening.   Meanwhile residents should now expect 150-300 mm (6-12 in) of rainfall across the island with highest amounts over eastern parishes and higher elevations.  This will produce extensive flooding and trigger dangerous landslides.    At 4 a.m. the centre of Tropical Storm Sandy was located near Latitude 16.3 degrees North, Longitude 77.0 degrees West, or about 190 kilometres (120 miles) south of Kingston, Jamaica or 60 kilometres (35 miles) east-southeast of the Pedro Cays.   Sandy is moving towards the north near 22 km/h (14 mph) and this general motion is expected to continue today and tomorrow with a gradual increase in forward speed. The centre of Sandy is now forecast to reach Jamaica’s southern coast this afternoon, then make its way across the island from south to north.   Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 110 km/h (70 mph), with higher gusts, and additional strengthening. (Jamaica Gleaner)

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