Port-au-Prince, capital of Haiti.

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A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for Jamaica while Tomas is upgraded to a hurricane while continuing to move away from the island. This means that tropical storm conditions, including possible sustained wind speeds of 34-63 knots or 63-117 km/h (39-73 mph) are expected, in this case within 3-6 hours.

At 4:00 a.m. the centre of Hurricane Tomas was located near Latitude 18.1 degrees North, Longitude 74.9 degrees West; about 150 km (90 miles) east of Morant Point, Jamaica or 280 km (175 miles) west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Tomas is now moving towards the northeast near 15 km/h (9 mph) and this general motion, with a further increase in forward speed, is expected over the next couple of days. On the forecast track, the centre of Tomas will continue moving away from Jamaica and near southwestern Haiti this morning, before passing near extreme eastern Cuba later today.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 130 km/h (80 mph), with higher gusts, making Tomas a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Additional strengthening is possible today before Tomas again begins to weaken on Saturday. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 30 km (18 miles) from the centre, and tropical storm force winds extend outward as far as 220 km (140 miles). Jamaica could still, therefore, come under the influence of tropical storm force winds over sections of eastern parishes this morning

Satellite imagery and radar reports indicate that the heavy showers and thunderstorms associated with Tomas continue to skirt the eastern tip of Jamaica; however, scattered showers are being detected over sections of central and western parishes. These will rapidly decrease as drier air moves into the area behind Hurricane Tomas.

Small craft operators are, however, reminded to remain in safe harbour until all warning messages have been lifted and wind and sea conditions have returned to normal.

Source: Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre http://tinyurl.com/2wztphq

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