JIS News

Jamaicans woke up this morning (November 5), to the news that Tomas, which had made the transformation from tropical depression to hurricane and back several times, is now a category 1 hurricane heading away from the island toward disaster ravaged Haiti.
Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, Ronald Jackson told JIS News that Tomas is “moving much further east of Jamaica. It is now over 90 miles east of the island and is currently a Category 1 Hurricane.”
The ODPEM Head said, however, that the storm warning remains in effect for Jamaica although he expected rapid improvement in the local weather situation. He added that there was still some gusty wind associated with the weather system occurring at some locations.
“What we have decided to do is to continue to request that non-essential employees stay at home until further notice,” Mr. Jackson added. He promised that the public will be updated throughout the day on the status of the weather as this is impacted by Tomas.
In the meantime, ODPEM has reiterated that schools should remain closed as per the joint directive put out by ODPEM and the Ministry of Education on Thursday night. He said that this decision was taken at the time because a warming was still in effect. Mr. Jackson reminded that the stipulations concerning non-essential workers and the closure of schools were applicable to persons in the eastern end of the island only, including Portland, St. Thomas, St. Mary and Kingston and St. Andrew.
He assured that this could be lifted early in the day as the situation continued to improve.
“While we had strong wind in the eastern end, primarily in St, Thomas and Portland, we had no adverse report of any damage. Nineteen shelters were open, housing 160 persons as part of the request for persons to take the threat of the advancing Tomas seriously and to seek secure safe haven.”

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