Tropical Storm Ernesto Churns Toward Jamaica

By: CBS News, Posted by Chelsey Moran
By: CBS News, Posted by Chelsey Moran

(CBS/AP) ROSEAU, Dominica - Tropical Storm Ernesto churned over open waters early Saturday on a path toward Jamaica and Mexico after dumping heavy rain on islands in the eastern Caribbean.

The future track brings Ernesto potentially to a Category 1 hurricane by Sunday night or early Monday morning, said CBS News hurricane consultant Dave Bernard.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Ernesto was about 305 miles south-southwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and about 690 miles east-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, early Saturday. It was moving westward at 18 mph.

The hurricane center said Ernesto was expected to approach Jamaica on Sunday.

Bernard said there is the possibility the storm could enter the Gulf of Mexico, but it's too early to say what, if any, impacts Ernesto could have on the United States' coastline.

"Certainly, if you have plans or cruises going into the western Caribbean Sea, around Cancun or Cozumel, there could be a hurricane threat there in the next 72 hours in the mid-part of next week," Bernard said on "CBS This Morning: Saturday."

On Friday, Dominica closed its international airport for a second day, while St. Lucia ordered businesses to close for half the day as Ernesto swept through the area. A ferry that travels to Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique and St. Lucia also temporarily suspended service.

No damage or flooding was reported on islands affected by the storm. Gusts of up to 60 mph were reported in some areas.

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