MIAMI, Aug 5, CMC – Tropical Storm Ernesto is expected to dump heavy rains on Jamaica on Sunday as it makes it way towards the Nicaragua-Honduras border with maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour (MPH).
The Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC), which had warned that the fifth names storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season could have developed into a powerful cyclone on Sunday, said it was now located 15.1 degrees north, 74.8 degrees west or 240 miles south east of the Jamaican capital, Kingston.
The NHC said that a tropical storm warning had gone into effect for Jamaica and part of the Nicaragua-Honduras border and occasional heavy showers are possible over the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
NHC said that the Cayman Islands, Belize and the Yucatan Peninsular of Mexico should also monitor the progress of Ernesto which is moving towards the west at 22 mph.
“This motion is expected to continue today and tonight with a decrease in forward speed. A turn towards the west-northeast is expected by late Monday or Monday night (and) on the forecast track, the center of Ernesto is expected to pass south of Jamaica today and move north of the northeastern coast of Honduras late Monday and Monday Night.”
The NHC said that some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours and that tropical storm conditions are expected on Jamaica by Sunday afternoon.
It said that Jamaica could expect up to six inches of rain with isolated higher amounts and thunderstorms as its moves by the island.
Jamaican disaster officials have urged all small craft operators, including fishers from the cays and banks, to remain in safe harbour until all warning messages have been discontinued and wind and sea conditions have returned to normal.