Hurricane Ernesto Expected To Enter Gulf Winds Up To 110 MPH – Florida Keys Evacuated Projected Path

Hurricane Ernesto Expected To Enter Gulf Winds Up To 110 MPH – Florida Keys Evacuated Projected Path

The first Atlantic season hurricane, Ernesto, hit Haiti while being downgraded to a tropical storm, but could reemerge as a hurricane as it heads towards the Florida Keys and possibly the Gulf Coast. There was flooding in Haiti, and the storm is expected to hit Cuba on Monday morning.

The government of the Bahamas has issued a tropical storm warning for Ragged Island and the Great Exuma in the Central Bahamas. The warning means a tropical storm is expected within the next 24 hours. The government of the Bahamas has issued a hurricane watch for the northwestern Bahamas. The watch means the conditions are likely within the next 36 hours.

The National Hurricane Center says that Jamaica has discontinued the hurricane watch, but a tropical storm warning remains in tact. Cuba has begun preparations for a possible hurricane or storm.

There is a hurricane watch for all of the Florida Keys and a warning is expected for portions of the Florida Peninsula tomorrow. AP reporter Stevenson Jacobs reports that Ernesto is expected to be a hurricane when it reaches the states. "We do expect it to reach the Gulf, maybe as a Category 1 hurricane, possibly a Category 2," said John Cangialosi, a meteorologist with the U.S. National Hurricane Center. "We expect it to be a significant system as it moves over Florida."

So far, the storm does not appear to be a threat for New Orleans, but is likely to hit anywhere from the eastern Gulf near the Florida Panhandle to the western Bahamas. So far the storm winds have slowed to about 52 mph but will likely increase as it heads out over open water. This is down from 75 mph winds earlier this weekend.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush has ordered an evacuation of the Florida Keys. The storm will likely hit Florida later this week as Ernesto moves northwest at about 7 mph. Right now the storm is 115 miles south-southeast of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The storm is expected to lose strength over Cuba but will emerge with winds of up to 110 mph as it enters the Gulf.

By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

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