October 23, 2012
Jamaicans prepare for storm
The Metereological Service of Jamaica has advised that a tropical storm watch remains in effect for Jamaica as Tropical Depression Number 18 has strengthened into Tropical Storm Sandy.
Consequently, Jamaicans have been taking the advisory seriously and have been preparing themselves for the worst while hoping for the best.
Michael James* of St Andrew, assured our news team that he will be visiting the supermarket to purchase items that will be needed if the storm hits.
" Yes, I will. It is better to be safe than sorry, from the projection it seems like a direct hit, if not, I will have food in my house, I won't lose anything," James said.
Racquel Higgins of St Catherine explained, "I will be preparing for the storm, yes, after whatever I buy can't spoil, I naah lef nuttin fi chance, better prepared than unprepared."
On the other hand, Meagan Biggs* of St Andrew admitted that she was unaware that a tropical storm is imminent prior to THE STAR's interview.
Biggs said "Wow. I'm actually ignorant to the news that a storm was approaching the island. With that being said, I guess I should go buy some tin food and clean water to drink. Also catch clean water."
According to the MET office, this means that tropical storm conditions pose a possible threat to the island within 48 hours.
At 4 p.m., the centre of Tropical Storm Sandy was located near latitude 12.5 degrees North, longitude 78.5 degrees West, or about 640 kilometres (395 miles) south-southwest of Kingston, Jamaica, or 490 kilometres (300 miles) south of the Pedro Cays.
Tropical Storm Sandy has remained nearly stationary over the past few hours but a motion towards the north and north-northeast 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 (Wednesday).
Maximum sustained winds are now near 65 km/h (40 mph), with higher gusts, and additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours.
Sandy could, therefore, be near hurricane strength when near Jamaica. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 110 kilometres (70 miles), primarily east of the centre.
Over the next couple of days, showers and thunderstorms are expected to increase significantly over Jamaica, along with strong, gusty winds.
Flash flooding is, therefore, likely between this evening and Thursday. As the tropical storm moves closer to the island, south-easterly winds will gradually be sustained at tropical storm strength on Wednesday morning and storm surge of near two metres (six to seven feet) is possible along the southern coastline from Clarendon to St Thomas.
All small craft operators including fishers from the cays and banks should be arriving in port to start preparations for safe harbour at this time.
The Meteorological Service continues to monitor the progress of this system, and all interests must pay special attention to further releases.