Tropical Storm Sandy May Become Hurricane Near Jamaica

Tropical Storm Sandy, the 18th named system of the Atlantic season, churned across the Caribbean and was forecast to grow to hurricane strength by tomorrow. A second system was intensifying in the Atlantic.

Sandy, with winds of 45 miles (72 kilometers) per hour, was 325 miles south-southwest of Kingston, Jamaica, according to a National Hurricane Center advisory at 8 a.m. New York time. A hurricane watch was issued by Jamaica’s government.

The storm, moving north-northeast at 3 mph, is forecast to produce 5 to 10 inches (13 to 25 centimeters) of rain across Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and eastern Cuba, according to the center. Some areas may be drenched by as much as 16 inches.

“Tropical storm conditions are expected to reach Jamaica tonight or early Wednesday, with hurricane conditions possible,” the Miami-based center said. The storm is forecast to move onto eastern Cuba tomorrow night, it said.

The naming of Sandy ties 2012 with 1969 as the fourth-most active season on record. A 19th storm will probably develop from a tropical depression east-northeast of the Leeward Islands that has 35 mph winds. It’s not forecast to reach the U.S.

If that storm develops into a named system, 2012 will be the third year in a row that 19 have formed in the Atlantic and will become the third-most active season. In addition to 2010 and 2011, 1995 and 1887 also produced 19 storms, according to Weather Underground in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The most active year was 2005, when 28 storms formed, including Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans.

The 19th Atlantic storm this year will be named Tony.

To contact the reporters on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at bsullivan10@bloomberg.net; Matthew Brown in London at mbrown42@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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