|Hurricane Ernesto root
Havana. August 29, 2006 - TROPICAL storm Ernesto could hit some parts of southeastern Cuba today, which is why the country is closely following its evolution.
According to the Institute of Meteorology’s Forecast Center (INSMET), the storm system has become more organized, although its maximum sustained winds remain at 85 kilometers per hour.
Ernesto, the first hurricane to form in the eastern Caribbean Sea, reached that status before sweeping past the Cap de Tiburon in Haiti, and is the first cyclonic system to reach that category in the current season.
The hurricane later diminished to tropical storm category as the intensity of its maximum sustained winds went down from 95 to 85 kilometers per hour, although – Cuban meteorologists explain – the most significant aspect of the system is the rain that it is brining to eastern Cuba.
The system’s pressure center went down in recent hours to 1,002 Hectopascal and continues to move along a northwesterly path, increasing its travel speed, which is now 19 kilometers per hour, INSMET reported.
At 6 a.m., its center was located at about 40 kilometers southwest of Guantánamo and about 45 kilometers southeast of Santiago de Cuba.
It is forecast that in the next 12 to 24 hours, Ernesto will move along the same path, with a similar traveling speed, reaching the southern coast of the eastern provinces tomorrow morning.
From Santo Domingo, Prensa Latina reported that the National Meteorology Office is maintaining updates for flooding and landslides, particularly in the southeast of the Dominican Republic, due to the heavy rains associated with the tropical storm.
The rains will continue for at least the next 24 hours, and cloud will extend over the entire country.
Europa Press reports that once the tropical storm passes the Gulf of Mexico, it will turn in a northwest direction, toward the western coasts of the Florida peninsula in the United States, and a hurricane watch is in effect for that southern U.S. state, including its northernmost cays.