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Ernesto drenches east Caribbean, heading west

Friday, August 03, 2012 | 2:56 PM    

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ROSEAU, Dominica (AP) — Tropical Storm Ernesto is dumping heavy rain across the eastern Caribbean as it heads west toward Jamaica and Mexico.

Dominica closed its international airport for a second day today, while St Lucia ordered businesses to close for half the day. A ferry that travels to Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique and St. Lucia also has temporarily suspended service.

No damage or flooding has been reported on islands affected by the storm. Gusts of up to 63 mph (101 kph) were reported in some areas.

The National Hurricane Centre said Ernesto is located about 90 miles (140 kilometres) west of St Lucia near midday with top sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph).

It is moving at 21 mph (33 kph) and is expected to strengthen into a hurricane by Monday when it’s expected to pass south of the island.

A warning has been issued to Jamaican fishers on the cays to evacuate.

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