Tropical Storm Ernesto strengthens as it heads for pass along Honduras' coast | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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Tropical Storm Ernesto strengthens as it heads for pass along Honduras' coast

This NOAA satellite image taken Monday, Aug. 6, 2012 at 1:45 a.m. EDT shows cloud cover ahead of a cold front that extends from the Lower Great Lakes to the Lower Mississippi Valley. Areas of showers, heavy rain and thunderstorms are embedded in cloud cover in West Virginia, southern New England, Mississippi and Florida. Offshore and in the Caribbean, Tropical Storm is visible at about about 220 miles east of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Nicaragua and Honduras border. Ernesto continues moving westward across the Caribbean near 13 mph with maximum sustained winds near 50 mph and higher gusts. (AP PHOTO/WEATHER UNDERGROUND)

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras - Tropical Storm Ernesto strengthened Monday as it headed for a brush with the Caribbean coast of Honduras and Nicaragua on a track that might carry it to the Belize-Mexico border as a hurricane.

Nicaragua began evacuating hundreds of people from imperiled coastal fishing villages and Honduran officials said they were watching the storm closely.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm strengthened as it slowed passing Jamaica and had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph) Monday afternoon, up from winds of 50 mph ( 85 kph) as it charged across the Caribbean in recent days.

It said the storm could grow into a hurricane during the night while dumping torrential rains on northern Honduras, including the Bay Islands that are popular resort areas for foreigners.

It said the storm could hit somewhere in Belize or along Mexico's southern Yucatan coast as a strong Category 1 storm on Wednesday. Ernesto hasn't made any direct hits on land since entering the Caribbean early Saturday.

The Hurricane Center said Ernesto was centred about 160 miles (260 kilometres) east-northeast of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Nicaragua-Honduras border Monday afternoon and it was moving to the west-northwest at 12 mph (19 kph). It had been racing along at nearly twice that pace over the weekend.

Far out in the Atlantic, former Tropical Storm Florence weakened into a remnant low.

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News from © The Associated Press, 2012
The Associated Press

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