Soaked Jamaica braces for possible hurricane
KINGSTON (AP) - Jamaicans hunkered down at home as Tropical Storm Sandy soaked the Caribbean island with steady rain on Wednesday morning and forecasters said it was likely to rake the country as a hurricane, possibly making landfall in the most populous city.
The island's international airports closed, cruise ships changed their itineraries and police ordered 48-hour curfews in major towns to keep people off the streets and deter looting as the late-season storm neared Jamaica's south coast. Police slowly drove through drenched communities in the capital of Kingston with their cruisers' lights flashing.
The 18th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season was forecast to make landfall in the vicinity of Kingston Wednesday afternoon and then spin on into eastern Cuba by late Wednesday or early Thursday. It was expected to pass west of the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, where pre-trial hearings were being held for a suspect in the deadly 2000 attack on the destroyer USS Cole off Yemen.
Forecasters at the US National Hurricane Center in Miami said tropical storm conditions were possible along the southeast Florida coast, the Upper Keys and Florida Bay by Friday morning. A tropical storm watch also may be required for parts of east-central Florida later Wednesday morning, the centre said.