Saturday, August 4, 2012
ROSEAU, Dominica (AP) — Tropical Storm Ernesto blew across open waters Saturday on a projected path that would skirt Jamaica and hit Mexico after dumping heavy rain on islands in the eastern Caribbean.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Ernesto was expected to roll south of Jamaica as a hurricane Sunday afternoon. The forecast would carry it into the coastal resorts of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 1 hurricane on Wednesday.
On Friday, Dominica closed its international airport for a second day, while St. Lucia ordered businesses to close for half the day as Ernesto swept through the area. A ferry that travels to Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique and St. Lucia also temporarily suspended service.
No damage or flooding was reported on islands affected by the storm.
The hurricane center said Ernesto had maximum sustained winds of about 50 mph (85 kph) late Saturday morning. It was about 295 miles (475 kilometers) south-southeast of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and was moving westward at 18 mph (30 kph).
Meanwhile, a new tropical storm, Florence, formed further out in the Atlantic. It had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph) and was about 415 miles (665 kilometers) west of the Cape Verde Islands. The National Hurricane Center said it was not expected to reach hurricane force as it marches generally westward.