Tropical Storm Charley may strengthen into a hurricane later today as it heads through the Caribbean toward Jamaica, U.S. government forecasters said.
The tropical storm is about 225 miles (360 kilometers) east- southeast of Jamaica and is moving at 25 miles an hour, the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory at 1 a.m. Miami time. A warning means a hurricane may be expected in a coastal area in 24 hours or less.
"A hurricane warning may be required for Jamaica later this morning," the hurricane center said. "On this track, the center of Charley will be nearing Jamaica near midday."
The hurricane season in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, which lasts from June 1 to Nov. 30, often disrupts oil production. Another tropical storm, Bonnie, yesterday forced companies including Royal Dutch/Shell Group to evacuate workers from rigs and close some platforms in the Gulf as a precaution, according to Bloomberg.com
The third Tropical Storm of the season, Charley, formed in the Caribbean and is moving toward the oil and natural gas fields off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Tuesday.
At 5 a.m. EDT (0900 GMT), the storm was centered about 450 miles (725 KM) south-southeast of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
A tropical storm watch may be required for Jamaica later this morning.
Charley was expected to hit the Gulf of Mexico by early Sunday morning, according to the NHCs five-day forecast track, informs Reuters.com