Sandy Reaches Hurricane Strength; Conditions Deteriorating in Jamaica

Miami, Florida—(ENEWSPF)—October 24, 2012 – 11:00 a.m. EDT.  The National Hurricane Center is reporting that Tropical Storm Sandy has reached Hurricane Strength.  The storm is now located 17.1 north, 76.1 west, about 65 miles (100 km) south of Kingston, Jamaica and about 234 miles (380 km) south southwest of Guantanamo, Cuba.  Maximum sustained winds are 80 mph (170 km/h).  Present ovement is north, northeast or 15 degrees at 13 mph (20 km/h).

Watches and Warnings

Changes With This Advisory

The government of the Bahmas has issued a Hurricane Watch for the central and northwestern Bahamas.

The Tropical Storm watch along the east coast of Florida has been extended northward to the Volusia/Brevard county line.

Summary of Watches and Warnings in Effect

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

  • Jamaica  
  • Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Las Tunas, Granma,  Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, and Guantanamo

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • Haiti  
  • the central Bahamas  
  • the northwestern Bahamas

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:

  • the central Bahamas  
  • the northwestern  Bahamas

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:

  • the southeastern Bahamas  
  • Florida east coast from the Volusia/Brevard county line to Ocean Reef  
  • Florida upper keys from Ocean Reef to Craig Key  
  • Florida Bay

A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area, in this case within 24 to 36 hours.

A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area, in this case within 36 to 48 hours.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area generally within 48 hours.

For storm information specific to your area in the United States, including possible inland watches and warnings, please monitor products issued by your local National Weather Service Forecast Office. For storm information specific to your area outside the United States, please monitor products issued by your National Meteorological Service.

Discussion and 48-hour Outlook

At 11:00 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Sandy was located near latitude 17.1 north, longitude 76.7 west. Sandy is moving toward the north-northeast near 13 mph (20 km/h). A turn toward the north and a slight increase in forward speed are expected later today, and a general northward  motion is expected to continue through Friday. On the forecast track, the center of Sandy is expected to move near or over eastern Jamaica this afternoon and this evening, move over eastern Cuba tonight and Thursday morning, and approach the central Bahamas on Thursday.

Data from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter Aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 80 mph (130 km/h), with higher gusts. Sandy is a category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some additional strengthening is likely before sandy moves over Jamaica.

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (35 km) from the center, and Tropical Storm force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km).

The estimated minimum central pressure based on data from the aircraft is 973 mb (28.73 inches).

Hazards Affecting Land

Wind. Tropical Storm conditions are occurring or imminent in Jamaica, and hurricane conditions are expected there this afternoon. Hurricane conditions are expected in eastern Cuba by tonight. Tropical Storm conditions are expected to spread across the central and northwestern Bahamas on Thursday, with hurricane conditions possible Thursday night and Friday morning. Tropical Storm conditions are possible in the watch area along the east coast of Florida on Friday.

Rainfall. Sandy is expected to produce total rainfall amounts of 6 to 12 inches across Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and eastern Cuba, with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches possible. These rains may produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides, especially in areas of mountainous terrain. Rainfall totals of 3 to 5 inches are expected over portions of the Bahamas, with isolated  maximum amounts of 12 inches. Rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches are possible across the Florida Keys into southeast Florida.

Storm Surge. A storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 1 to 3 feet above normal tide levels along the southern and eastern coast of Jamaica. A storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 3 to 5 feet above normal tide levels in southeastern Cuba. A storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 5 to 8 ft. above normal tide levels in the Bahamas within the tropical storm warning area. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves.

Surface Wind Field

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Source: nhc.gov