Jamaicans are preparing quickly as the storm crosses the Caribbean.
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) -- Jamaicans rushed to stock up on emergency supplies and officials urged coastal areas evacuated Friday as a slightly weakened Hurricane Emily churned toward the Caribbean island after ravaging Grenada.
Packing winds of 115 mph, the second major hurricane of the Atlantic season came unusually early and made its presence felt hundreds of miles away, unleashing heavy surf, gusty winds and torrential rains on islands both sides of the Caribbean sea.
The Category 3 storm was just over 300 miles southeast of Jamaica's capital and was moving westward at nearly 18 mph, with a turn toward the northwest expected to take it very close to Jamaica on Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
The path of storm
If Emily continues on the same path, the storm will make landfall sometime Wednesday between Tuxpan, Mexico, and Galveston, Texas, about a 600-mile span, hurricane center spokesman Frank Lepore said, cautioning that "a lot could change between now and then."
Jamaica posted a hurricane warning. Prime Minister P.J. Patterson ordered government offices to close early Friday and instructed disaster authorities to draw up plans to evacuate thousands of residents in flood-prone coastal areas.