KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) – Tropical Storm Ernesto swirled westward through the central Caribbean early Sunday, heading for a pass south of Jamaica that could bring several inches of rain to the island. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm wasn’t expected to strengthen much beyond its 60 mph (95 kph) winds during the day. But it was forecast to gradually begin gaining power Monday and possibly reach hurricane strength by Monday evening.
Ernesto was following a course predicted to take it south of the Cayman Islands on Monday and over the beach resorts of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula by Wednesday.
With forecasters predicting possible rains of up to three to six inches in Jamaica, islanders stood in long lines at grocery stores Saturday in the island’s capital of Kingston to buy bottled water, bread and canned goods.
“We’re going to have heavy rains, so I’m stocking up,” said Marco Brown, a Kingston resident in his late 50s.
The Jamaican government ordered fishermen on outlying cays to evacuate and move to the main island.
Ernesto had maximum sustained winds of about 60 mph (95 kph) as of 2 a.m. ET Sunday, according to the hurricane center in Miami. The storm’s center was about 290 miles (470 kilometers) southeast of Kingston and was moving westward at 22 mph (35 kph).
Source: USA Today