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The Bahamas prepares for Sandy

NASSAU — Tropical Storm Sandy has shifted course, increasing the threat to the Central and Northwest Bahamas and the winds have strengthened to close to 70 mph. The immediate threat to the southeast islands has diminished, the Bahamas Department of Meteorology reported this morning.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the central Bahamas – Exuma, Cat Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador and Long Island. This means that tropical storm conditions can be expected within 36 hours.

A tropical storm watch remains in effect for the northwest Bahamas – Grand Bahama, Bimini, Abaco, the Berry Islands, Andros, Eleuthera and New Providence. A watch means that conditions can be felt within 48 hours.

At 5 a.m. the centre of Sandy was located near latitude 16.3 degrees north and longitude 77.0 degress west, or about 120 miles south of Kingston, Jamaica and about 363 miles south-southwest of Ragged Island, according to the Department’s 6 a.m. update.

Tropical Storm Sandy is moving toward the north near 14 miles per hour. This general motion is expected to continue through Thursday, accompanied by a gradual increase in forward speed.

Expected on Thursday

According to the Met Department, on the current forecast track the centre of Sandy should approach the Central Bahamas early Thursday morning.

Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours and Sandy is expected to become a hurricane by the time it reaches Jamaica and Cuba.

Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 140 miles from the center.

Storm conditions are expected in the Central Bahamas by early Thursday and by mid-afternoon in the Northwest Bahamas.

Residents in the warning and watch areas should brace themselves for strong gusty winds and flooding in low-lying areas. All precautions should be taken to secure outdoor valuable properties. (Nassau Guardian)

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