Tropical Storm Tomas expected to strengthen


The Meteorological Service is reporting that Tropical Storm Tomas continues to move westward over the south-central Caribbean Sea and is still expected to strengthen within the next 48 hours.
At 10:00 a.m. the centre of Tropical Storm Tomas was located near Latitude 13.5 degrees North, Longitude 72.6 degrees West, about 630 km (390 miles) southeast of Morant Point, Jamaica or 570 km (355 miles) south of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Tomas is moving towards the west near 17 km/h (10 mph) and maximum sustained winds remain near 85 km/h (50 mph), with higher gusts. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 185 km (115 miles) from the centre.
Satellite imagery indicates that Tomas is becoming a little better organised as it remains over the southern Caribbean Sea. The tropical storm is expected to gradually strengthen to hurricane strength on Wednesday (November 3) and turn towards the northeast by Thursday. It would then pass over the waters east of Jamaica on Friday on its way to Haiti.
There is a 5-10 per cent chance that eastern sections of Jamaica could experience hurricane force winds as Tomas moves close to the eastern end of the country. Bands of heavy showers and thunderstorms could start affecting the island by Friday morning, and above-normal wave heights should be expected over coastal areas of northern and south-eastern parishes during that time.
Over the waters, northeasterly winds are forecast to increase to gale force by Thursday, mainly south of the island. By Friday, these are likely to become near northerly at hurricane strength. All small craft, including fishers from the cays and banks, should now be arriving in port to start preparations for safe harbour. Anyone still operating on the cays and banks should evacuate NOW.

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