BULLETIN #13 issued by the Meteorological Service at 8:00 a.m.
HURRICANE ERNESTO ON PATH EAST OF JAMAICA - TROPICAL STORM WARNING & HURRICANE WATCH REMAIN IN EFFECT-
The TROPICAL STORM WARNING and HURRICANE WATCH have been continued for Jamaica as Hurricane Ernesto continues to move over the waters east of the island. 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 also pose a possible threat within 36 hours.
At 7:00 a.m. the centre of Hurricane Ernesto was located near Latitude 17.3 degrees North, Longitude 73.4 degrees West. This is about 180 kilometres (115 miles) southwest of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, or 310 kilometres (190 miles) east-southeast of Morant Point, Jamaica.
Ernesto is now moving towards the northwest near 15 km/h (9 mph) and a motion towards the northwest or west-northwest is expected today. On this track, the centre of the hurricane is projected to pass over or close to the southwestern peninsula of Haiti, east of Jamaica, this morning. It is then forecast to move towards southeastern Cuba, remaining over the water to the northeast of Jamaica, during the afternoon or early evening.
Maximum sustained winds are near 120 km/h (75 mph), with higher gusts, and further strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours. At this rate, Ernesto could become a Category 2 hurricane while close to Jamaicaâ€™s northeastern coast. Tropical storm force winds now extend outward up to 150 kilometres (90 miles) from the centre.
Periods of heavy rainfall are possible for sections of mainly northern and eastern parishes this afternoon as the system moves close to Jamaica. Flash flooding, landslides and above-normal tide levels are still 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 continue to pay special attention to subsequent Releases from the Meteorological Service. The next Bulletin on Hurricane Ernesto will be issued at 11:00 a.m. today.