New tropical threat as Ernesto exits the Caribbean

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, August 29, 2006 – Tropical Storm Ernesto, now re-gathering strength after getting the short end of the stick over Cuba is targeting the Florida Keys. As Ernesto clears the Caribbean another strong tropical wave in mid-Atlantic is this morning showing signs of becoming better organised.

An early morning reconnaissance aircraft has confirmed that the centre of the poorly organised cyclone has emerged from Cuba and now back over the warm waters of the Caribbean it is becoming a little stronger. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Centre in Miami expect further strengthening.

The storm with maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour (mph) and moving northwest at 14 mph is projected to be near or over the Florida Keys or southeast Florida by this evening. Before then the weather should deteriorate as squally conditions arrive. The areas under threat have already been evacuated. Most of southern Florida is under a tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch.

An upper level low pressure area about 120 miles northwest of the cyclone is helping to regenerate thunderstorms in the storm. New computer models do not forecast Ernesto to become a hurricane again as he will be in and out over land and the sea.

At 5 am Eastern Standard Time, the centre of Tropical Storm Ernesto was estimated to be near 22.6 north and 78.9 west of about 230 miles southeast of Key West Florida.

The cyclone drenched Cuba, Haiti, Barbados, St Vincent, and Trinidad on its trek through the region over the last week. It has killed two persons in Haiti, injured four in Trinidad where some roofs in the southern section of the island were also damaged.

New potential threat
In the meantime the National Hurricane Centre said that a westward moving wave located about 625 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands is producing a concentrated area of showers and thunderstorm and it is showing signs of becoming better organised.

It is moving westward at 15 to 20 mph and is, at present, about five days away from the Caribbean.