Tropical Storm Sandy threatens Jamaica (+video)
Tropical Storm Sandy will likely become a hurricane before it strikes land in Jamaica on Wednesday, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. Jamaicans are preparing for the storm, which may cause flash flooding and landslides.
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About a mile away in the riverside town of Tavern, Errol Heron rushed back to his home next to the rushing Hope River carrying a loaf of bread. He said he's confident his home will manage Sandy intact since a new retaining wall was built below his property.Skip to next paragraph
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"But I'm looking forward to this being over," Heron said Tuesday evening on a bridge in the community.
Jamaica's government issued a hurricane warning on Tuesday morning and announced schools would close on Wednesday. It has urged people in flood-prone areas to be on alert and advised fishermen on outlying cays to return to the mainland. There were reports in local media saying roughly 100 fishermen were stranded on the lobster- and conch-rich Pedro Cays because they didn't have enough fuel for the journey.
In Kingston, Jamaica's biggest city, some residents flocked to grocery stories to stock up on food, propane, tarp, batteries and water. At one major supermarket, hardly any bread remained on the shelves.
In Cuba, authorities issued a hurricane watch for several provinces and there were intermittent rains over Haiti, where a tropical storm warning was in effect. A tropical storm watch was called for the central and southeastern Bahamas, meaning stormy conditions were possibly within 48 hours.
Although Florida was not expected to receive any direct impact from Sandy, Brian Koon, director of the U.S. state's emergency management division, said residents should remain aware of the storm and take precautions to keep themselves safe from indirect impacts such as windy conditions, rain and rip currents.
In Jamaica, Sandy was expected to dump more than 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rainfall, especially over central and eastern parts of the island, according to the country's meteorological service. Flash flooding and landslides are likely on the mountainous island, Jamaican forecasters said.
Sandy's maximum sustained winds Tuesday evening were roughly 50 mph (85 kph). It was moving north-northeast at about 8 mph (13 kph) and its center was about 225 miles (360 kilometers) south-southwest of Kingston by 8 p.m. EDT.
Sandy on Monday became the 18th named storm of this year's busy Atlantic season, which officially ends Nov. 30.
Meanwhile, U.S. forecasters said a tropical depression in the Atlantic could possibly become a tropical stormlater Tuesday or Wednesday. There were no coastal watches or warnings in effect as it spun over open waters some 990 miles (1,590 kilometers) northeast of the Leeward Islands. The depression's maximum sustained winds were near 35 mph (55 kph).
David McFadden on Twitter: http://twitter.com/dmcfadd