Hurricane Sandy is now heading for Eastern Cuba, however, the Meteorological Service has continued the hurricane warning for Jamaica even as the eye of Hurricane Sandy moves over Jamaica’s north coast.
The Met Service says Jamaicans should still expect rainfall especially over central and eastern parishes, as rainbands associated with Hurricane Sandy continue to impact the island.
Winds will gradually be decreasing across the country tonight, except for gusts during thundershowers.
Sandy is a category one hurricane and is expected to strengthen before reaching Cuba tonight, weaken over the Spanish-speaking country and then re-strengthen over The Bahamas tomorrow.
Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 45 km (30 miles) from the centre, and tropical storm force winds extend up to 220 kilometres (140 miles), primarily east of the centre.
At 7:00 p.m. the centre of Hurricane Sandy was located near Latitude 18.7 degrees North, Longitude 76.4 degrees west.
This is about 185 km (115 miles) southwest of Guantanamo, Cuba, or 75 kilometres (45 miles) north-northeast of Port Antonio, Jamaica.
Sandy is moving towards the north near 22 km/h (14 mph) and this general motion is expected to continue today and tomorrow with an increase in forward speed tonight and tomorrow.
A turn towards the north-northeast and a decrease in forward speed are expected on Friday.
Maximum sustained winds are now near 135 km/h (85 mph), with higher gusts.
All small craft operators are advised to remain in safe harbour until all warning messages have been lifted and wind and sea conditions have returned to normal.
It is possible that the Hurricane Warning for Jamaica could be lifted later tonight.
The next bulletin on Hurricane Sandy will be issued at 11:00 p.m. today.