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Hurricane warning for Yucatan

Tropical Storm Ernesto strengthens, moves west

MIAMI | August 6, 2012

The Mexican government posted a hurricane warning for the Yucatan peninsula midday Monday as the strengthening Tropical Storm Ernesto advanced from the east.

At 11 a.m., the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Ernesto was 190 miles east-northeast of the Nicaragua/Honduras border, moving toward the west-northwest near 9 mph.

The system had sustained winds of 65 mph with higher gusts, which the center said were likely to increase to beyond the 74 mph threshold to hurricane status by Monday night.

"On the forecast track, the center will be passing north of the coast of Honduras tonight and Tuesday and approach the East Coast of the Yucatan Peninsula early Wednesday," forecasters said.

The Mexican hurricane warning covered Chetumal northward to Punta Allen.

"Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion," the U.S. agency advised.

The government of Belize posted a hurricane watch for all of its Atlantic coast and a tropical storm warning was issued for the coastal areas of the Honduras.

"Hurricane conditions are expected to reach the coasts of Belize and Mexico by early Wednesday, with tropical storm conditions possible by Tuesday afternoon," the Miami forecasters said.

The various governments warned of rainfall of as much as 5 inches and dangerous ocean storm surges bringing sea levels to as much as 4 feet above normal.

Further to east over the Atlantic Ocean, Tropical Storm Florence was losing strength and was downgraded to post-tropical status and was expected to weaken and dissipate in the next two days, the report said.

2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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