Jamaica braces for TS Sandy

Watches and warnings posted for parts of Haiti, Bahamas and Florida

October 24, 2012

MIAMI, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Jamaican braced for Tropical Storm Sandy, with hurricane warnings posted for the island Wednesday, U.S. forecasters said.

A hurricane warning was in effect for Jamaica and several provinces in Cuba as Sandy was expected to strengthen to a hurricane before it reaches the two countries later Wednesday and into Thursday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said in its 8 a.m. EDT advisory.

Sandy, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, was about 95 miles south of Kingston, Jamaica, and 270 miles south-southwest of Guantanamo, Cuba, moving north at 14 mph, forecasters said.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for Haiti, and the central and northwestern Bahamas.

A tropical storm watch was posted for the southeastern Bahamas and parts of Florida's east coast, upper Keys and Florida Bay.

Forecasters said Sandy's center was expected to move across Jamaica Wednesday afternoon and evening, move near or over eastern Cuba late Wednesday and Thursday morning, and approach the central Bahamas on Thursday.

Sandy was expected intensify and become a hurricane before it reached Jamaica and Cuba.

Sandy could produce 6-12 inches of rain across Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and eastern Cuba, with isolated amounts of 20 inches possible. Flash floods and mudslides could result, the hurricane center said.

Three to five inches of rain could be expected over portions of the Bahamas, with isolated amounts of 12 inches possible.

An expected storm surge will raise water levels several feet above normal tide along the southern and eastern coasts of Jamaica, southeastern Cuba and portions of the Bahamas.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Tony, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, was about 1,415 miles west-southwest of the Azores, moving east-northeast at 16 mph.

No coastal watches or warnings were in effect.

Tony was expected to remain on its forecast path and increase in forward speed during the next 48 hours, forecasters said.

The storm was expected to intensify during the next 24 hours, then begin to weaken.

2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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