Jamaica activates disaster plan ahead of Tomas

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday November 1, 2010 – The Jamaica government has activated its disaster preparedness plan as the country braces for the passage of Tropical Storm Tomas.

Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunication and Special Projects, Daryl Vaz, told journalists today that the government is not taking the threat of the storm lightly and is therefore putting all necessary measures in place to ensure that the country is as prepared as possible.

Speaking after Prime Minister Bruce Golding met with members of his Cabinet and emergency relief agencies, Vaz said the country’s disaster plan is being led by the Office of the Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).

The latest bulletin from the Meteorological Service has indicated that Tomas continues to weaken in the central Caribbean. However, as Director of the Met Office Sylvia McGill indicated, the storm is expected to re-strengthen into a hurricane before its impact on Jamaica late Wednesday into Thursday.

McGill noted that, based on the current path of the storm, the eastern end of Jamaica is expected to be the most seriously affected.

Vaz said the government found it necessary to be proactive based on the fact that the country is still recovering from the effects of Tropical Storm Nicole.

He said one of the main concerns raised during today’s meeting was the level of saturation based on the recent rainfall. 

“This makes it much more dangerous for certain areas in the low lying and mountainous areas,” Vaz said.

At 11 pm, Tomas was moving westward across the central Caribbean Seas with no change in intensity from earlier. 

It was still carrying maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour and was located about 505 miles southeast of Kingston, Jamaica and 365 miles south-southeast of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

No watches or warnings have been issued but Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic have been advised to monitor Tomas’ progress.

Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)