Tropical Storm Sandy has just turned into a category one Hurricane. According to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) the storm’s winds increased from 65 to 80 miles per hour and could intensify as it makes it way towards Eastern Cuba and the Bahamas. The slight increase in speed is expected later today.
Sandy has already battered the coast of Jamaica, just south east of Kingston. More than 100 people have already gone to shelters in the capital; and Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller had already urged those on cays to return to the mainland for safety.
Authorities have appealed to people living in low lying areas to go to the shelters and a curfew remains in effect.
Sandy is also expected to produce rainfall amounts of six to twelve inches across Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Eastern Cuba. Authorities and weather experts warn that “life-threatening flash floods and mud slides, especially in mountainous terrains are expected.” Jamaicans are also being urged to lookout for storm surges in excess of five feet and expect tide levels to rise to as high as eight feet.
The NHC adds, “The surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves.”