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Jamaican PM: 'Take storm threat seriously'

STORM WARNING: Portia Simpson Miller

JAMAICA PRIME Minister Portia Simpson Miller is appealing to citizens to take the threat of Tropical Storm Sandy very seriously.

Simpson Miller arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston late yesterday evening after cutting short her official visit to Canada.

She said she was particularly concerned that people are still on the Pedro Cays, where the storm is expected to arrive.

“If you are still on the cays, please leave,” Simpson Miller urged.

“We will accept no responsibility if people ignore the warnings and the appeal for persons to get off the cays.”

She says if people need help they should call immediately.

In the meantime, the national security minister, Peter Bunting, says weather permitting, the JDF will send a helicopter to the Pedro Cays tomorrow to rescue those stranded.

It is believed that average winds will be around 64 knots or 118 kilometre per hour or higher.

At 10.00pm local time the centre of Tropical Storm Sandy was located near Latitude 15.2 degrees North, Longitude 77.2 degrees West.

This is about 315 kilometres (195 miles) south-southwest of Kingston, Jamaica or 185 kilometres (115 miles) south of the Pedro Cays.

The centre of Sandy is now forecast to reach Jamaica’s southern coast (in the vicinity of Kingston) shortly after midday Wednesday, then cross over the island to the northern coast (in St. Mary) and head towards eastern Cuba by Wednesday evening.

Maximum sustained winds are now near 95 km/h (60 mph) and Sandy is expected to reach hurricane strength by tomorrow morning before reaching Jamaica.

Tropical storm force winds extend up to 220 kilometres (140 miles) from the centre.

Rainfall, associated with Tropical Storm Sandy is forecast to increase tomorrow morning producing rainfall amounts in excess of 150 millimetres (6 inches) per day.

Hurricane-force winds will gradually develop during Wednesday morning and could generate storm surge of 1-2 metres (3-7 feet) along Jamaica’s southeastern coastline.

Periods of heavy rainfall and gusty winds are likely to persist through Thursday.

All small craft operators are advised to remain in safe harbour until all warning messages have been lifted and wind and sea conditions have returned to normal.

For weather updates, like The Jamaica Gleaner's Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/gleanerjamaica

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