Ernesto heading west in Caribbean, new storm forms

By REUTERS
August 5, 2012 10:59

 
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MIAMI - Tropical Storm Ernesto kept on a westerly course in the Caribbean Sea on Sunday, and was expected to strengthen slowly over the next 48 hours, soaking Jamaica as it passes the island on its way to the Yucatan, US forecasters said.

Officials in Jamaica issued a tropical storm warning as Ernesto moved in open waters at 35 kph on a predicted track that should keep it at sea until a forecast landfall, possibly at hurricane strength, over Mexico's Yucatan peninsula on Wednesday.

With maximum sustained winds of 95 kph, Ernesto was 470 km southeast of Kingston, Jamaica early on Sunday.

Overnight, the storm is expected to continue passing south of Hispaniola, the mountainous island Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic.

Tropical storm conditions are to strike Jamaica on Sunday afternoon as Ernesto passes south of the island. It is then expected to strengthen slowly on Monday as it moves south of the Cayman Islands, US forecasters said.

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