Expected storm track of Tropical Storm Sandy (NOAA/NHC)
MIAMI -- The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Sandy formed Monday afternoon in the southwestern Caribbean, to the south of Jamaica.
A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for Jamaica and Haiti. Strong storms with torrential rains and flash flooding is expected on the island as well as on Cuba and Hispanola over the next few days.
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As of 5 p.m. Monday, TS Sandy has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, and is located 395 miles to the south-southwest of Kingston, Jamaica. The storm is presently stationary. Tropical storm force winds extend outward about 70 miles from the storm's center. According to an Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft, the minimum central pressure in Sandy is at 999 millibars.
The National Hurricane Center says a Hurricane Watch and/or a Tropical Storm Warning coudl be issued for Jamaica Monday night.
TS Sandy is expected to strengthen as it moves toward Jamaica, with winds approaching hurricane strength as it nears the island on Wednesday.
It is expected to cross Jamaica and Cuba before moving through the Bahamas later in the week. Presently, it is not expected to hit the U.S. mainland, but it is close enough that forecasters said interests along the Eastern Seaboard should keep a close eye on the tropical system.