Prime Minister Golding ready for the rumble of Gustav

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hurricane edit.JPGEarly this morning, Tropical Storm Gustav strengthened with maximum sustained winds up to 70 miles per hour, just 74 mph short of the requirements for a Category One Hurricane. With this speed and might Gustav hovered only 80 miles east of Kingston, Jamaica and about 170 miles south of Guantariamo, Cuba.

The government of Jamaica has issued hurricane warnings while the slow moving system is said to be expected to head west-southwest, turning more westerly later today, passing very closely to Jamaica.

Although many computer models indicate the storm is heading in a north-westerly direction that will take it off the southern coast of Cuba then on to the central Gulf of Mexico by Sunday, it is a fact that track projections are not always accurate and Gustav’s path is being closely watched, as it can crucially affect important oil and gas producing areas near the coasts of Louisiana and Texas.

The storm lashed into Haiti reeking havoc that caused flooding and landslides that killed 15 people on Tuesday. In all 23 people have lost their lives in Haiti and the Dominican Republic as a result of Gustav.

Prime Minister Golding reported that the Jamaican government is well prepared, while guardedly optimistic that the storm will not cause the island to suffer much damage. He called on Jamaicans to be prepared by cutting down trees, securing their properties, livestock and any other objects that could cause or face damage. He explained that the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management has swung into full gear, ensuring all necessary arrangements for shelters and needed supplies have been put into place.

“Don’t be complacent,” Golding warns Jamaicans, saying while there is no cause for major alarm, prudence must be adhered to.

It is possible that Gustav will affect the New Orleans region on this 3rd anniversary of the devastating Hurricanes Katrina and Rita that walloped the region.