KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) will on Saturday evening activate its national emergency operation centre as it gets ready for the possible impact of Tropical Storm Ernesto.

Acting head of the ODPEM Ronald Jackson says the agency is focusing on areas where the possibility of flooding is greatest.

\”We are looking at areas in St. Thomas, south Clarendon, some sections of Manchester, more so the south coast. The new forecast track brings the storm over the island on Sunday, that may shift that may hold, those are things that we have to make contingency plans for,\” he said.

ODPEM has advised persons living in low-lying, coastal or flood prone areas to be ready to evacuate and shelter managers have also been asked to report to their parish disaster coordinators.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller has called on all Jamaicans to take the threat of Tropical Storm Ernesto seriously.

The Prime Minister on Friday summoned members of the National Disaster Committee to an emergency meeting to look at the country\’s readiness for the possible impact of the tropical storm.

Following the meeting Simpson-Miller pleaded with persons living in low lying and flood prone areas to follow the instructions of the ODPEM and be prepared to evacuate.

Shortly before midday on Saturday the Meteorological Service of Jamaica upgraded its tropical storm watch to a tropical storm warning for the entire island. A hurricane watch was also issued for the island as Ernesto continues to strengthen.

The storm is expected to affect the island within the next 24 hours.