JACKSONVILLE, FLA --
Hurricane WARNING for Jamaica & Parts of Eastern/Central Cuba & the NW & Central Bahamas; Tropical Storm WARNING for Haiti & parts of the lower Fl. east coast & SE Bahamas; Tropical Storm WATCH for Parts of Upper Keys & Far SE Fl....
** The tropical storm WATCH & WARNING for the SE Fl. coast & upper Keys is primarily a result of the wide wind field -- that's expected to expand even more -- to the northwest of the center & NOT because of a change in the forecast path which is a center well to the east of Fl** ......
"Sandy" made landfall near 3pm EDT Wed. at Kingston, Jamaica with category 1 winds near 80 mph. The hurricane went through a rapid intensification cycle (see first satellite image below) before making a second landfall on the Southeast Cuban coast early Thursday. Strong upper level troughing looks like it'll remain in place -- in one form another -- over the Northern & Eastern U.S. which should protect the Southeast U.S. from the worst of the storm.
Torrential rain, rough seas & surf & damaging winds will diminish over Jamaica while Eastern Cuba gets hammered & Hispaniola receives heavy rain and potential mudslides. The Bahamas will see the worst of the hurricane by Thursday night into Friday. "Sandy" will move north/northeast to the east of Florida through Sat. with an expansive wind field. Any cruises this week to the Bahamas &/or Caribbean might have to be rerouted but will still get out of port, just a matter of where the cruise will exactly be able to go.
FOR THE FIRST COAST.....direct effects will be relegated to a stiff east/northeast wind later Thu.-Fri.-Sat.-Sun., rough seas & surf & a high rip current risk & possibly some beach erosion -- all, of course, dependent on the exact location & intensity of "Sandy". There will be some rain mainly close to the coast but amounts should not be great. Conditions at area beaches will become downright dangerous later this week into the weekend.
Wave heights courtesy NOAA: