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Tropical storm could spoil Olympics, Independence celebrations

Friday, August 03, 2012    

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JAMAICANS are gearing up to celebrate the likely Usain 'Lightning' Bolt victory in the men's 100m at the London Olympics on Sunday, but may also have to contend with lightning and thunderstorm from Tropical Storm Ernesto — the unwelcome Independence visitor.

The National Meteorological Service said yesterday that if Ernesto remains on its current track it will begin lashing Jamaica with heavy rains and winds on Sunday and into Monday — Jamaica 50th anniversary of Independence.

"Based on current projections from the National Hurricane Centre, Ernesto should enter the Eastern Caribbean in the vicinity of the Windward Islands late tonight (Thursday) or early Friday (today) and then it is expected to move south of Puerto Rico late Friday and south of Hispaniola by Saturday and approach Jamaica on Sunday," said Ronald Moodie, forecaster at the Met Service.

The centre of Tropical Storm Ernesto was at 4:00 pm yesterday located near Latitude 12.8 degrees north and Longitude 56.6 degrees west.

The system was moving towards the west near 35 km/h and that general motion was expected to continue for the next two days, the Met Service said. Maximum sustained winds were near 85 km/h, with higher gusts and was expected to strengthen slightly.

Fishers on Jamaica's cays and banks were advised yesterday to commence preparations for likely evacuation, should it become necessary.

Tropical storm warnings were last night in effect for Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, St Lucia, Martinique, which forced LIAT to cancel several flights in the Eastern Caribbean.

The Barbados Government advised yesterday that the Grantley Adams International Airport would be closed at midnight last night for a possible 10:00 am reopening today, while St Vincent's E T Joshua International Airport was expected to be closed from 11:00 pm last night for a possible 4:00 pm reopening today.

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