(Updates storm strength, location)
MIAMI Oct 22 Tropical Storm Sandy formed in the
western Caribbean Sea on Monday and is expected to become a
hurricane on Wednesday as it approaches Jamaica, the U.S.
National Hurricane Center said.
The storm was centered about 395 miles (640 kilometers)
south-southwest of Kingston, Jamaica, and had top sustained
winds of 45 miles per hour (75 kph).
The storm did not pose a threat to the Gulf of Mexico, where
U.S. oil and gas operations are clustered.
A tropical storm watch was in effect for both Jamaica and
Haiti, meaning residents should expect heavy rains and strong
winds within 48 hours.
Computer models showed Sandy was on a projected path that
would carry it over Jamaica on Wednesday and then eastern Cuba
and the Bahamas.
Sandy is expected to dump as much as 5 to 10 inches (12.5-25
cm) of rain across parts of Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican
Republic and eastern Cuba, forecasters said.
(Reporting by Kevin Gray; Editing by Peter Cooney)