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Strengthening storm Grace pummels Jamaica with heavy rain, wind

KINGSTON: Tropical Storm Grace pounded Jamaica with heavy rain and wind on Tuesday after causing flooding in parts of Haiti, which is scrambling to deal with a major earthquake at the weekend that killed more than 1,400 people.

Grace, which is expected to become a hurricane by the time it hits Mexico's Yucatan peninsula on Thursday, was by late morning about 177 kilometres east of Montego Bay with maximum sustained winds of 85kmh, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. Higher gusts were reported.

"A whole heap of water is on the road. Trees are broke down, and the place a flood-out," said Yankee Paul Junior, 21, a tax collector who was stranded in Jamaica's eastern parish of St Thomas. "I'm stuck and I want to go work".

Footage and images broadcast on social media showed downed trees and flooded roads, and several major arteries in Kingston were impassable, making it potentially hard for Jamaicans to get home in time for a 7pm curfew under COVID-19 restrictions.

Romayne Robinson, a meteorologist with the Meteorological Service of Jamaica, said he expected conditions to continue to be challenging for the next six to 12 hours.

"It's a good idea for everybody to stay put and ride out the storm," Robinson said.

The Miami-based NHC said tropical storm conditions were spreading over Jamaica. The country's meteorological service said between four and six inches of rain could fall, which risked causing major flooding and landslides.

Source: Reuters/ec

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