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BULLETIN #11 issued by the Meteorological Service at 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 26, 2006.

Published:Sunday | August 27, 2006 | 2:05 AM


A TROPICAL STORM WARNING and HURRICANE WATCH remain in effect for Jamaica as Tropical Storm Ernesto continues to move closer to 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 also pose a possible threat within 36 hours.

At 10:00 p.m. the centre of Tropical Storm Ernesto was located near Latitude 16.8 degrees North, Longitude 72.7 degrees West. This is about 205 kilometres (125 miles) south-southwest of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, or 410 kilometres (250 miles) east-southeast of Morant Point, Jamaica.

Ernesto is moving towards the west-northwest near 22 km/h (14 mph) and this general motion is expected to continue for the next 24 hours. On this track, the centre of the tropical storm is projected to move over the waters south of Haiti tonight and pass between the eastern tip of Jamaica and western Haiti by midday tomorrow.

Maximum sustained winds are now near 95 km/h (60 mph), with higher gusts, and some strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours. At this rate, Ernesto could be near hurricane strength while passing close to Jamaica’s north coast. Tropical storm force winds now extend outward up to 150 kilometres (90 miles) from the centre.

Satellite imagery shows that the heavy thunderstorms surrounding the centre of Ernesto are approximately 240 km (150 miles) from Jamaica’s easternmost point. At the current speed of movement, this could begin affecting eastern parishes near 8:00 a.m. on Sunday and gradually spread across the island. Extensive flash flooding and landslides are likely. As the system moves closer, strong near-northerly winds should be expected along with above-normal tide levels.

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 Tropical Storm Ernesto will be issued at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow.