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|Hurricane Charley - Storm Warning In Effect For Jamaica, Cayman Islands|
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|Posted by:||Aug 12th 2004, 10:54:04 am|
|chapel||Hurricane Charley to make direct hit in Cayman Islands
CAYMAN BRAC, Cayman Islands — Hurricane Charley was expected to slam the Cayman Islands on Thursday as it spun away from Jamaica and hotel guests filled sandbags to protect against pounding waves.
Charley packed maximum sustained winds of 75 mph with higher gusts, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. At 8 p.m. EDT, the hurricane's center was located 250 miles southeast of George Town, Grand Cayman.
"It looks like it's going to be a direct hit for the Cayman Islands," said Krissy Williams, a meteorologist at the hurricane center.
A hurricane warning remained in effect for both the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. Charley was expected to remain a Category 1 hurricane Thursday, but maximum winds were forecast to increase to 85 mph, Williams said.
The hurricane's extended winds brushed just off Jamaica's southern coast on Wednesday afternoon. There were no immediate reports of injuries on the Caribbean island of 2.6 million residents.
Although the storm did not directly hit Jamaica, many houses are wooden, poorly constructed and in areas that are prone to flash floods. Hurricane Lili killed three people on the island in 2002 and left hundreds without homes and businesses.
Steady rain with tropical storm force winds were expected to affect Jamaica through Wednesday night and the Cayman Islands by early Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.
"There will be downed trees, power lines, power outages and storm surges," said Jennifer Pralgo, a meteorologist at the U.S. National Hurricane Center. "There is the potential for a lot of damage throughout Jamaica."
Residents near west-coast Negril reported fallen trees while power lines were down and outages were reported in north-coast Ocho Rios and other towns in central and eastern Jamaica. A few rooftops were damaged in the capital, Kingston, authorities said. Shelters have been opened across the island in preparation for potential flash flooding.
Jamaican emergency officials said they would not be able to give a clear picture of the damage until Thursday.
Jamaica's main airports in northern resort town Montego Bay and Kingston were closed and expected to reopen late Wednesday. Hundreds of passengers were stranded at Montego Bay's Sangster International Airport where 33 flights were canceled or delayed, airport manager Peter Hall said. Many tourists made overnight hotel arrangements, Hall said.
Carnival Cruise Lines announced it diverted three cruise ships with scheduled stops in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Royal Caribbean said two of its ships would also be diverted.
In Jamaica's capital, residents stocked up on bottled water, bread, batteries, flashlights and canned food before the storm passed. Supermarkets began closing early Wednesday afternoon. Residents in the Cayman Islands did the same.
Cars clogged streets in Kingston as residents rushed to stores or tried to make it home.
Charley is spinning west-northwest at 17 mph and a gradual turn toward the northwest is expected. Hurricane force winds extended outward up to 30 miles from the center. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 115 miles.
The Cayman Islands — the wealthier and better-prepared British territory — was also under a hurricane warning. The storm's center was forecast to pass near or over the Cayman Islands on Thursday.
"I've never been in a hurricane before," said Susan Austin, an American tourist from Las Vegas, staying at a hotel in Grand Cayman with a group of friends. "I'm kind of excited. I understand the rain goes horizontal. We've got chess, checkers, backgammon, dominos and cards. I'm think we're good."
Residents and businesses worked through Wednesday to put metal hurricane shutters over their doors and windows to prevent damage. Long lines formed at grocery stores in Grand Cayman and most other businesses closed early Wednesday.
Sister islands Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, which have a combined population of 1,300, also began preparing for the storm. Sixty guests at the 71-room Divi Tiara Beach Resort in Cayman Brac got on their hands and knees, filling sandbags to protect the hotel against storm surges and accompanying waves.
Eight Cuban migrants managed to keep ahead of Charley, landing in Cayman Brac Wednesday afternoon, authorities said. The migrants, six men and two women, arrived in a 14-foot boat and were taken to a hurricane shelter.
In 1988, Category 4 Hurricane Gilbert pummeled Cayman Brac, damaging homes and agriculture.
The territory's airports were still open late Wednesday.
In Grand Cayman, the largest of the three islands with 50,000 residents, the weather varied between sunny and overcast with little to no rain. Beach bars also put up sandbags to prevent flooding.
A hurricane watch also remained in effect for western Cuba and the Florida Keys, meaning hurricane conditions were possible within 36 hours.
Charley was the third named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which began June 1 and ends Nov. 30.
Associated Press writer Howard Campbell contributed to this report from Jamaica.
August 11, 2004 - 7:05 p.m. PDT
|Posted by:||Aug 11th 2004, 07:20:54 pm|
|Fig Tree News Team||Hurricane Charley Nears Jamaica, Cuba on Alert
26 minutes ago
By Horace Helps
KINGSTON, Jamaica (Reuters) - Two separate storms charged through the Caribbean on Wednesday, one poised to strike the Florida Panhandle and the stronger Hurricane Charley drenching Jamaica with heavy rain.
Slideshow: Hurricanes & Tropical Storms
Millions of people in the region were on alert as the hurricane and Tropical Storm Bonnie churned on paths that weather forecasters said could deliver a double whammy to parts of Florida.
Charley had sustained winds of 75 mph, just at the threshold for hurricane status, as it headed on a course that would take its eye just south of Jamaica, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (news - web sites) said.
Forecasters expected the system to sweep over the Cayman Islands, a British colony and offshore finance center, then Cuba, home to about 11 million people, on Thursday before hitting the lower Florida Keys early on Friday.
Jamaican businesses were shuttered, universities suspended exams and hospitals sent patients home as people rushed to shops and gas stations to stock up on emergency supplies.
Emergency management officials said there were no immediate reports of damage or deaths in Jamaica but scores of emergency shelters opened across the island of 2.7 million people.
Bonnie was hampering Gulf oil and gas operations and was poised to strike the Florida Panhandle within a day, prompting authorities to issue a hurricane warning for the area.
It was growing stronger as it moved closer to the coast. It had sustained winds of 65 mph and could become a hurricane on Wednesday night or Thursday morning.
Energy companies evacuated workers from 108 production platforms and 37 rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush declared a state of emergency as the storms approached, setting the wheels in motion for emergency shelters to open. Around 8,000 National Guardsmen were on alert.
Charley forced Air Jamaica, British Airways, American Airlines and BWIA to cancel flights and a cruise ship was diverted from a stop in Montego Bay. A caller to a radio station said there were mudslides along Jamaica's eastern coast and the Yallahs River in the eastern parish of St. Thomas.
Authorities in the Florida Keys issued a mandatory evacuation order to visitors, telling them to pack up and leave immediately. It can take days to completely evacuate the 100-mile chain of islands and many tourists were unable to book flights, hotel managers said.
In Key West, restaurants and bars were urged to close early on Thursday. City-operated buildings were already shuttered on Wednesday but most private shops and homes were not. Duval Street, popular with tourists, was bustling.
"Que sera, que sera (What will be, will be)," said Arthur Murphy of Fort Myers, Florida, celebrating his 72nd birthday at the popular Sloppy Joe's bar, which was frequented by Ernest Hemingway.
At 5 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, Charley's center was 85 miles southwest of Kingston, at latitude 17 North and longitude 77.5 West, the hurricane center said.
It was expected to carry 3 to 6 inches of rain and large waves to Jamaica and the Caymans.
Bonnie's center at 5 p.m. EDT on Wednesday was about 165 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River at latitude 26.7 north and longitude 89.3 west.
It was moving to the northeast at about 12 mph and was expected to hit land between Pensacola and Panama City early on Thursday, possibly as a hurricane. (Additional reporting by Laura Myers in Key West)
|Posted by:||Aug 11th 2004, 02:16:29 pm|
|Fig Tree News Team||HURRICANE CHARLEY INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
2 PM EDT WED AUG 11 2004
...CHARLEY BECOMES A HURRICANE...RAIN BANDS SPREADING OVER
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING AND A HURRICANE WATCH REMAIN IN EFFECT FOR JAMAICA.
A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE CAYMAN ISLANDS.
A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR THE FOLLOWING PROVINCES OF
WESTERN CUBA...PINAR DEL RIO...LA HABANA...CIUDAD DE LA
HABANA...MATANZAS...AND THE ISLE OF YOUTH.
A HURRICANE WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE FLORIDA KEYS FROM DRY
TORTUGAS TO CRAIG KEY. A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS THAT HURRICANE
CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 36
HOURS. ADDITIONAL WATCHES WILL LIKELY BE REQUIRED FOR PORTIONS OF
THE FLORIDA PENINSULA LATER TODAY.
REPORTS FROM AN AIR FORCE HURRICANE HUNTER PLANE INDICATE THAT
CHARLEY HAS STRENGTHENED...AND IS NOW A HURRICANE.
AT 2 PM EDT...1800Z...THE EYE OF HURRICANE CHARLEY WAS LOCATED NEAR
LATITUDE 16.6 NORTH...LONGITUDE 76.8 WEST OR ABOUT 90 MILES...
150 KM...SOUTH OF KINGSTON JAMAICA.
CHARLEY IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 18 MPH
...30 KM/HR...AND A GRADUAL TURN TO THE NORTHWEST IS EXPECTED DURING
THE NEXT DAY OR SO. ON THIS TRACK THE CENTER WILL BE PASSING TO THE
SOUTH OF THE SOUTH COAST OF JAMAICA THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING.
HOWEVER...BANDS OF SQUALLS WITH TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS ARE
LIKELY TO AFFECT MUCH OF JAMAICA TODAY AND TONIGHT.
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE INCREASED TO NEAR 75 MPH...120
KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. ADDITIONAL STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST
DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 115 MILES
...185 KM FROM THE CENTER.
THE LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY THE HURRICANE
HUNTERS IS 993 MB...29.31 INCHES.
ABOVE NORMAL TIDES...ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING
WAVES...ARE LIKELY ALONG THE COASTS OF JAMAICA TODAY...AND THE
CAYMAN ISLANDS TONIGHT.
RAINFALL TOTALS OF 3 TO 6 INCHES ARE LIKELY IN ASSOCIATION WITH
FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...PLEASE MONITOR
PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.
REPEATING THE 2 PM EDT POSITION...16.6 N... 76.8 W. MOVEMENT
TOWARD...WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 18 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED
WINDS... 75 MPH. MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 993 MB.
THE NEXT ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER AT
5 PM EDT.
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