Tomas now a depression but Jamaica remains on hurricane watch

(Go Jamaica) The Meteorological Service of Jamaica is reporting that a Hurricane Watch remains in effect for Jamaica, even as Tropical Storm Tomas has been downgraded to a tropical depression. The system is expected to strengthen today and tomorrow. This means that hurricane conditions still pose a possible threat within 48 hours.

According to the Meteorological Service, at 4:00 a.m. the centre of Tropical Depression Tomas was located near latitude 13.5 degrees North, longitude 75.5 degrees West; about 490 km (300 miles) south-southeast of Morant Point, Jamaica or 620 km (385 miles) south-southwest of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Tomas is now moving towards the west near 7 km/h (5 mph) and a turn towards the northwest, north and then north-northeast is expected over the next 48 hours.

Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 55 km/h (35 mph), with higher gusts. However, Tomas is expected to strengthening during the next 48 hours.

The Meteorological Service maintains that while Tomas has further weakened over the past 6 hours, there has been little change to the forecast track and hurricane-force winds are still expected to re-develop as the system changes direction. With this in mind, outer bands should begin to affect southern and north-eastern parishes of Jamaica within 24 hours, while Tomas is expected to be closest to the island on Friday morning.

All small craft operators, including fishers from the cays and banks, should by now be in port and are urged to complete their necessary safety precautions without delay.

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