Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sandy approaches hurricane strength as it nears Jamaica

Reuters: Tropical Storm Sandy picked up speed and strength on its approach to the south coast of Jamaica on Wednesday and was forecast to make landfall as a hurricane later in the day, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. Emergency authorities on the Caribbean island closed schools and prepared shelters to take in residents of flood-prone areas.

The storm was centered about 120 miles south of the Jamaican capital, Kingston, on Wednesday morning and was moving north at 14 miles per hour (22 km per hour) with top sustained winds of 70 miles per hour.

A tropical storm watch has been issued for south Florida, but Sandy's expected path will not take it into the Gulf of Mexico, where U.S. oil and gas operations are clustered.

A hurricane warning was in effect for both Jamaica and Cuba, although forecasters said Sandy is expected to be only a weak Category One hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity, with winds topping out at 80 mph...

Tropical Storm Sandy on October 23, 2012, from NASA

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