Hurricane Sandy was grinding its way across the Caribbean, crossing Jamaica after making landfall Wednesday afternoon.
A tropical storm warning was issued Wednesday evening from Ocean Reef to Sebastian Inlet on the southeast coast of Florida. A tropical storm watch was in effect south to Craig Key, including Florida Bay, and north to Flagler Beach.
A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within 24 to 36 hours. A tropical storm watch means tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours.
At 5 p.m., Sandy was emerging from the coast of Jamaica with maximum sustained winds at 80 miles per hour. The storm was moving north at 14 mph toward Guantánamo, Cuba, according to the National Hurricane Center. A relatively large storm, tropical storm-force winds extended about 140 miles from Sandy's center.
A hurricane warning remains in effect for Jamaica and parts of Cuba and the Bahamas, while a tropical storm warning is in effect for Haiti.
By the end of the week, Sandy should be moving north off Florida's east coast.
As it moves by the state, Sandy may bring stronger winds and lower rain chances to the Tampa Bay area, according to Bay News 9.
Meanwhile, hurricane experts have also been tracking Tropical Storm Tony, a smaller system found about 1,245 miles west-southwest of the Azores as of 11 a.m.
Tony was accelerating east-northeast about 21 mph with winds of about 50 mph and not expected to pose any threat to land.
Marissa Lang can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3386 or on Twitter @Marissa_Jae.