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JM | Sep 22, 2022

Take heed! Holness urges Jamaicans to prepare amid severe weather alert

Gavin Riley

Gavin Riley / Our Today

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The five-day tropical weather outlook for the Caribbean Basin as at 2:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo: National Hurricane Center)

Despite being in Washington DC, Prime Minister Andrew Holness is today (September 22) urging Jamaicans to err on the side of caution and be prepared, as an approaching tropical wave potentially places the island in its crosshairs this weekend.

Holness, in a series of tweets, advised that the severe weather alert activated by the Jamaica Meteorological Service last night remains in effect. He further called for fisherfolk and other marine interests to heed warnings and return to shore before sea conditions deteriorate.

The Met Service, as at 11:00 am local time, said little had changed in terms of development for the tropical wave, designated Invest98L, which experts are touting to strengthen in the southern Caribbean Sea.

“The wave has the potential to develop into a tropical depression or tropical storm over the next day or two. Unstable weather conditions are expected to spread over the Caribbean waters south of Jamaica
within the next 36-48 hours as the system moves westward,” the agency noted.

“Fishers on the cays and banks are advised to evacuate immediately and start returning to the mainland. Other small craft operators in our coastal waters are advised to return to port and small craft operators who are in port are advised not to venture out,” added the Met Service.

Dumping several inches of rain over Trinidad and Tobago in just a few hours, showers associated with Invest98L impacted every section of the twin-island republic, according to a report from the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government.

The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service said that flash flooding was observed in the southern sections of mainland Trinidad, with the Oropouche River breaching its banks. A “yellow level” adverse weather alert remains in effect for Trinidad and Tobago, which should be lifted by 8:00 pm local time.

Meanwhile, the US-based National Hurricane Center indicated that environmental conditions are still very favourable for Invest98L to develop, though it remains largely disorganised.

Invest98L is now a low-pressure system, said the NHC in its 2:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) advisory. “The low is forecast to move west-northwestward and be over the central Caribbean Sea this weekend where conditions are expected to be conducive for additional development,” the Miami-headquartered hurricane watchdog noted.

Satellite-generated time-lapse of weather conditions across the Caribbean with Hurricane Fiona spiralling further away from the region as at 1:10 pm Atlantic Standard Time (AST) on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Content courtesy of NOAA/NHC)

“Locally heavy rainfall and gusty winds are likely to affect the Windward Islands, northern Venezuela, and the ABC island chain today. These impacts are likely to spread to northeastern Colombia later this evening,” the NHC disclosed further.

Formation chances over the next two-to-five days are “high” at 80 and 90 per cent respectively, with the next available name on the 2022 North Atlantic Hurricane Season being Hermine.

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