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Update: Tropical Storm Watch in effect for Jamaica

Saturday, August 04, 2012 | 8:40 AM    

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A tropical storm watch remains in effect for Jamaica as Tropical Storm Ernesto continues its westward motion into the central Caribbean.

This means that tropical storm conditions pose a possible threat to the island within 48 hours.

At 4:00 a.m. the centre of Tropical Storm Ernesto was located about 1075 kilometres (670 miles) east-southeast of Morant Point, Jamaica or 490 kilometres (305 miles) south-southwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The centre of the Tropical Storm is forecast to pass south of Hispaniola today and Jamaica on Sunday. Ernesto could become a hurricane by Sunday afternoon while located near 240 kilometres (150 miles) away from Jamaica’s southern coastline.

Rainfall and thunderstorm activity associated with Tropical Storm Ernesto are expected to start affecting Jamaica as early as Sunday afternoon and could be accompanied by periods of strong, gusty winds, mainly over southern parishes. Winds are expected to reach near hurricane force in the vicinity of the Pedro Cays on Sunday.

Ernesto is moving towards the west near 30 km/h (18 mph) and this general motion is expected to continue today and tomorrow.

Maximum sustained winds are near 95 km/h (60 mph), with higher gusts, and gradual strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 165 km (105 miles) from the centre.

All small craft operators, including fishers from the cays and banks, should by now be in port and are urged to complete their necessary safety preparations without delay.

All interests, especially fishers and other marine operators should pay special attention to further Releases.

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