November 7, 2008

Hurricane Warning Posted in Caribbean

A hurricane warning was posted Friday for the Cayman Islands as Hurricane Paloma strengthened and moved northward in the Caribbean.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Paloma was a Category 1 storm with sustained winds of 80 mph at 4 a.m. Forecasters warned strengthening was expected to reach Category 3 status with minimum winds of 111 mph by Saturday.

The storm was centered about 110 miles south-southwest of Grand Cayman and about 255 miles west of Montego Bay, Jamaica.

The storm is relatively compact, with hurricane-force winds extending outward up to 15 miles and tropical storm-force winds reaching outward up to 70 miles, the report said.

The NHC advised authorities in Jamaica and Cuba to monitor the hurricane as it moved northward at 9 mph, with a turn to the northeast expected Friday night.

The storm was forecast to bring as much as 12 inches of rain to the Cayman Islands and generate "dangerous battering waves," the report said.