Depending on how the system moves, islands in The Bahamas could see a hurricane by Thursday.
According to Meteorologist Godfrey Burnside up to press time, a tropical storm watch was put in effect for Tropical Storm Sandy for the islands of Long Island, Exuma, Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador and The southeast Bahamas which includes Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, Inagua, Mayaguana and Ragged Island.
A watch means that tropical storm conditions could affect the mentioned islands within 48 hours.
Yesterday the centre of Tropical Storm Sandy was located at about 275 miles south-southwest of Kingston, Jamaica or about 575 miles south-southwest of Ragged Island.
“Persons in the southeast Bahamas should now start making preparation for the approach and the onset of Tropical Storm Sandy,” he said. “As a matter of fact it is expected that Sandy would suddenly turn into a hurricane over the next 24 hours as it approaches Jamaica.
“As it passes Jamaica as a category one hurricane then it will pass over Cuba.”
Tropical Storm Sandy was moving toward the north-northeast near five miles per hour.
A north-northeast or northward motion with some increase in forward speed is expected between today and tomorrow.
On the forecast track the centre of Sandy is expected to move near or over Jamaica today and approach eastern Cuba tonight.
The system is expected to move over the central and southeast Bahamas on Thursday afternoon.
But Mr. Burnside said should the tropical storm approach Cuba and Jamaica, The Bahamas might go unscathed.
“Now, there is some mountainous terrain,” he added. “And we ought to cross our fingers because there is the possibility of it weakening some.
“It is expected to move into the central Bahamas, in the vicinity of the Exumas and then move across Cat Island and Eleuthera sometime on Friday, early in the morning time. We’re talking about rainfall amounting to five to 10 inches and some flooding in low lying areas, wind speeds could be up to 70 miles per hour and you may have some flying debris. So the expectation of those persons in those areas is that they should be protecting personal property and personal life.”
Mr. Burnside is advising residents in the affected areas to start collecting can goods in the event of any food store closures or damage.
Tropical Storm Sandy is packing maximum sustained winds near 50 miles per hour with higher gusts.
Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours and Sandy is forecast to become a hurricane when it approaches Jamaica today.
Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 90 miles from the centre,
This is the 18th tropical storm and should it develop would be the fourth hurricane this season.