BULLETIN #9 issued by the Meteorological Service at 5:00 p.m.
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING and A HURRICANE WATCH REMAIN IN EFFECT FOR JAMAICA.
The Meteorological Service has continued its TROPICAL STORM WARNING and HURRICANE WATCH for Jamaica as Tropical Storm Ernesto continues to strengthen and head towards the island. This means that tropical storm conditions, including possible sustained wind speeds of 63-117 km/h (39-73 mph), are expected to affect Jamaica in 24 hours or less, while hurricane conditions now pose a possible threat within 36 hours.
At 4:00 p.m. the centre of Tropical Storm Ernesto was located near Latitude 15.9 degrees North, Longitude 71.6 degrees West. This is about 310 kilometres (190 miles) south-southeast of Port Au Prince, Haiti, or 540 kilometres (335 miles) east-southeast of Morant Point, Jamaica.
Ernesto is moving towards the west-northwest near 20 km/h (13 mph) and this general motion is expected to continue for the next 24 hours. This motion is now projected to bring the centre of the tropical storm between Jamaica and Haiti throughout the day tomorrow.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 90 km/h (60 mph), with higher gusts, and additional strengthening is possible during the next 24 hours and Ernesto could be near hurricane strength as it approaches Jamaica Sunday morning.
Tropical storm force winds now extend outward up to 185 kilometres (115 miles) from the centre, and satellite imagery indicates that spiral bands associated with the system now extend as far as 400 km (250 miles) from the centre. Residents should, therefore, expect storm-force winds to spread over the island, along with heavy rainfall and thunderstorms, beginning on Sunday morning. Extensive flash flooding and landslides are likely.
All small craft operators including fishers from the cays and banks should by now have completed all the necessary safety precautions and are advised to remain in safe harbour until all warning messages have been lifted and wind and sea conditions have returned to normal.
All interests should pay special attention to subsequent Releases from the Meteorological Service.
The next Bulletin on Tropical Storm Ernesto will be issued at 8:00 p.m. tonight.