August 29, 2008

Gustav Alerts in Jamaica, Cuba, Caymans

Tropical Storm Gustav was set to leave Jamaica Friday and bear down on the Cayman Islands on a westerly path, U.S. forecasters in Miami said.

At 5 a.m., the center of Gustav was 85 miles west of Kingston, Jamaica, dumping heavy rains along with sustained winds of 65 mph, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

The storm was expected to dump as much as 12 inches of rain on Jamaica. A hurricane watch remained in effect in western Cuba, while a hurricane warning was posted in the Cayman Islands.

Gustav was moving toward the west-northwest near 8 mph, which forecasters said would bring the storm near or over the Cayman Islands later Friday and approach western Cuba on Saturday.

Gustav is expected to become a hurricane later Friday, and could strengthen to major hurricane status before reaching western Cuba, forecasters said.

Meanwhile, CNN said authorities in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama began activating storm plans Thursday, as the forecast 5-day track shows an eventual U.S. landfall anywhere between Corpus Christi, Texas, and Panama City, Fla.