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Tropical Storm watch issued for Jamaica

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 | 10:45 AM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica- A Tropical storm watch has now been issued for Jamaica as weakening Tropical Storm Chantal moves quickly westward and could pass close to the island’s eastern coastline.

This means that tropical storm conditions pose a possible threat to Jamaica within 36 hours.

The Meteorological Service of Jamaica has reported that at 10:00 am the centre of Tropical Storm Chantal was located near Latitude 16.5 degrees North, Longitude 72.0 degrees West, or about 470 kilometres (290 miles) east-southeast of Morant Point, Jamaica or 245 kilometres (155 miles) south-southwest of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The Tropical Storm is moving towards the west near 46 km/h (29 mph) and this general motion with a decrease in forward speed is expected through tonight.  If Chantal remains a tropical cyclone, a gradual turn toward the northwest is expected on Thursday. 

On this forecast track, the centre would remain near or to the south of Hispaniola today and pass close to northeastern Jamaica on its way to central Cuba on Thursday.  If Chantal degenerates into a tropical wave, however, the remnants, including heavy rainfall, are likely to move rapidly westward across Jamaica.

Maximum sustained winds are now near 75 km/h (45 mph), with higher gusts.  These winds are confined to areas of heavy thunderstorms to the north and east of the centre.  Weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours. 

Jamaica could begin feeling effects of Tropical Storm Chantal as early as tonight as the system passes in the vicinity of the island either as a tropical wave or tropical cyclone.  The main threat at this time is for outbreaks of showers and thunderstorms to develop over the island, starting with eastern parishes, during the course of the night and into Thursday.  Periods of strong, gusty winds are also possible in thunderstorms.  Marine operators, primarily north and east of the island should remain on alert to unfavourable sea conditions through Thursday.

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