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Jamaica readies for hurricane

Image showing expected trajectory of Tropical Storm Sandy.

KINGSTON — Tropical Storm Sandy could be near hurricane strength when it makes landfall tomorrow on the southern end of Jamaica, the Meteorological Service is reporting.

Heavy rains accompanied by gale force winds are expected to affect the island today into tomorrow as the 18th named weather system, which formed uncharacteristically south of Jamaica, hits the island.

Yesterday, the Meteorological Service placed Jamaica on a tropical storm watch, as at 5 p.m. Sandy was located near Latitude 12.5 degrees, Longitude 78.5 degrees West, or about 640 kilometres (395 miles) south south-west of Kingston or 490 kilometres south of the Pedro Cays.

“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.

Flash flooding, the Met Service said, is therefore likely between this evening and Thursday, while storm surge of near two metres is possible along the southern coastline from Clarendon to St. Thomas.

Meteorological technician at the Met Service Andre Cuthbert said, while tropical storm conditions are expected to begin today, the system will move over Jamaica tomorrow morning.

“The full impact of the system should be around Wednesday, although we will begin feeling some effects by tomorrow (today),” Cuthbert said

He explained further that based on the forecast, it is to be expected that Jamaica will definitely be impacted, initially by a lot of rainfall, followed by wind.

The Met Service said Tropical Storm Sandy has remained nearly stationary over the past few hours, but a motion towards the north and northnorth-east is expected during the next couple of days.

On this forecast track, the centre of the tropical storm will begin to move across Jamaica, from south to north, near midday tomorrow. (Observer)

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