Monday, August 28, 2006

Florida getting ready for brush with Tropical Storm Ernesto

The 11 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center has Ernesto's most likely path going well east of Tampa, but Tampa is still in the "cone of probability".


KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — Floridians are getting ready for a brush with Tropical Storm Ernesto.

About 400 miles of coast are under a hurricane watch from New Smyrna Beach southward on the east coast and from Chokoloskee southward on the west coast. Sustained winds of at least 74 miles-an-hour are possible by late tomorrow night. The Keys were put under a watch yesterday afternoon.

The National Hurricane Center says that's because Ernesto could become a hurricane after it reaches the warm waters north of Cuba. Forecasters say there is a ten percent chance of hurricane-force winds striking South Florida and a 60 percent chance of tropical storm-force winds.

A state of emergency is in effect for all Florida, because forecasters say Ernesto could potentially threaten a large swath of the state by late in the week.

At 11 am, the storm had top sustained winds of 40 miles-an-hour. It's centered over Cuba, about 35 miles northwest of Guantanamo, and about 485 miles southeast from Key West. It's moving northwest at ten miles-an-hour.

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