Sat | Nov 27, 2021

BULLETIN #12 issued by the Meteorological Service at 5:15 a.m. on Sunday, August 27, 2006.

Published:Sunday | August 27, 2006 | 10:03 AM

ERNESTO SLOWS DOWN AND RAPIDLY STRENGTHENS

-TROPICAL STORM WARNING & HURRICANE WATCH REMAIN IN EFFECT-





The TROPICAL STORM WARNING and HURRICANE WATCH remain in effect for Jamaica as Ernesto rapidly strengthened to hurricane strength this morning while inching closer to 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 4:00 a.m. the centre of Hurricane Ernesto was located near Latitude 17.0 degrees North, Longitude 73.1 degrees West. This is about 195 kilometres (120 miles) south-southwest of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, or 340 kilometres (210 miles) east-southeast of Morant Point, Jamaica.



Ernesto is moving more slowly towards the west-northwest near 15 km/h (9 mph) and this general motion is expected to continue today. On this track, the centre of the hurricane is projected to remain over the waters south of Haiti this morning before passing between the eastern tip of Jamaica and western Haiti during the afternoon or early evening.



Maximum sustained winds have increased to 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 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 leading edge of the cloud mass surrounding the centre of Ernesto is approximately 90 km (60 miles) from Jamaica’s easternmost point. At the current speed of movement, this could begin spreading over the island, starting with eastern parishes, during the next 4-6 hours. 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 along the northern coastline.



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 8:00 a.m. today.