Tropical Storm Ernesto Threatens to Become Hurricane

AEN News

Houston, TX - Tropical storm Ernesto threatens to become a hurricane as it passes by the coast of Jamaica with wind speeds averaging 60 mph as it moves towards the Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Center says.

As of 8pm EST Saturday, the National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch for tropical storm Ernesto for the provinces of Las Tunas, Granma, Holguin, Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo in Eastern Cuba. A hurricane watch means tropical storm Ernesto could become a hurricane in the next 36 hours. Tropical storm Ernesto is moving toward the West-Northwest between 14 to 22mph and is expected to continue in that direction for the next 24 hours, putting the storm's center near the South coast of Hispanola tonight and near Jamaica on Sunday.

Yesterday, the storm was tropical depression 5, until its wind speeds doubled, changing it to a tropical storm named Ernesto. As Ernesto barrels into the Gulf of Mexico it will hit warm waters of 80 degrees to a depth of nearly 100 feet. This phenomena is fuel for a storm and could turn Ernesto into a hurricane. Where it lands in the US is unknown, but it could strike anywhere from Mexico's northern border to Texas or even Louisiana, though the National Weather Service has not issued hurricane warnings for the US nor estimates at this time as to where Ernesto will hit the mainland, though Florida is at this time considered less likely.

The National Weather Service is predicting rainfall averaging between 4 to 8 inches and up to a foot in some areas, with possible isolated amounts of over 22 inches.