KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP):
As Jamaicans braced for Tropical Storm Sandy today, sheets of rain, lashing winds and a powerful storm surge began impacting the island yesterday.
Tropical Storm Sandy took aim at the island as it churned over warm Caribbean waters. The US National Hurricane Centre in Miami said Sandy was expected to become a hurricane today.
The late-season storm is expected to travel from south to north over the Caribbean country, which hasn't sustained a direct hit from a hurricane's eye since powerful Hurricane Gilbert in 1988.
Yesterday, the outer bands of the approaching storm drenched parts of Jamaica with intermittent downpours that sent brown water rushing down streets and gullies.
In Cuba, authorities issued a hurricane watch for several provinces, including Guantanamo in the extreme east, where authorities at the United States military base were trying to wrap up military commission hearings before the storm was felt.
Skies were largely overcast over Haiti, where a tropical storm warning was in effect. A tropical storm watch was called for the central and southeastern Bahamas, meaning stormy conditions were possible within 48 hours.
In Jamaica, Sandy was expected to dump more than 10 inches (25 centimetres) of rainfall, especially over central and eastern parts of the island, according to the country's meteorological service. Flash flooding and landslides are likely on the mountainous island, Jamaican forecasters said.