A HURRICANE WARNING continues for Jamaica as Tropical Storm Sandy maintains a path toward the island.
This means that the following dangerous effects of a hurricane are expected to affect Jamaica in 36 hours or less:
* Dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and exceptionally high waves, even though winds expected may be less than hurricane force;
* Average winds 64 knots (118 km/h) or higher;
At 1:00 p.m. the centre of Tropical Storm Sandy was located near Latitude 14.1 degrees North, Longitude 77.6 degrees West, or about 440 kilometres (275 miles) south-southwest of Kingston, Jamaica or 310 kilometres (190 miles) south of the Pedro Cays.
Sandy is moving towards the north-northeast near 7 km/h (5 mph) and this general motion is expected to continue with some increase in forward speed today and tomorrow. On this forecast track, the centre of Sandy will begin to move across Jamaica, from south to north, on Wednesday afternoon before heading towards eastern Cuba.
Maximum sustained winds are near 85 km/h (50 mph), with higher gusts, and additional strengthening is expected during the next 24-48 hours. Sandy is forecast to become a hurricane while approaching Jamaica tomorrow. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 150 kilometres (90 miles), primarily east of the centre.
Over the next 24-36 hours, rainfall is expected to increase significantly over Jamaica to produce flash floods and landslides across the island, at least through Thursday. Winds are forecast to reach tropical storm strength by early Wednesday morning, increasing to hurricane force later in the day. These could generate 1- to 2-metre (3- to 7-foot) storm surges, particularly along the southeastern coastline of the island.
All small craft operators including fishers from the cays and banks should by now have completed all the necessary safety precautions and are advised to remain in safe harbour until all warning messages have been lifted and wind and sea conditions have returned to normal.