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Ernesto Strengthens, Heading Toward Honduras

Tropical Storm Ernesto has gotten stronger as it heads for a brush with the Caribbean coast of Honduras and Nicaragua.

Tropical Storm Ernesto (NOAA)

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says the storm strengthened as it slowed while passing Jamaica. Its maximum sustained winds increased from 50 mph to 65 mph.

Forecasters say the storm could grow into a hurricane tonight while dumping torrential rains on northern Honduras. It could hit somewhere in Belize or along Mexico’s southern Yucatan coast as a strong Category 1 storm on Wednesday.

Honduran officials say they’re watching the storm closely.

Nicaragua has begun evacuating hundreds of people from coastal fishing villages.

Ernesto hasn’t made any direct hits on land since entering the Caribbean early Saturday.

Meanwhile, far out in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Florence has ceased to exist. It’s weakened into a remnant low.

 

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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