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Ernesto upgraded to Tropical storm

Thursday, August 02, 2012 | 6:11 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The National Hurricane Centre in Miami said this evening that a Tropical depression threatening the Caribbean has been upgraded to a Tropical storm.

The storm — Ernesto — is headed west at about 22 mph (35 kph). 

Tropical storm warnings are in effect for the islands of Barbados, Dominica, St Lucia, St Vincent, Martinique, Guadeloupe and the Grenadines.

The storm's maximum sustained winds are rapidly gaining strength and were at 50 mph (80 kph).

Forecasters say the storm is expected to strengthen further. Its general track takes it toward Jamaica and could also affect Cuba. 

Hurricane centre meteorologist David Zelinsky says the storm has the potential to become a hurricane, but “it's too soon to tell”.

According to Duty Forecaster for the Jamaica Meteorological Service, Ronald Moodie, the earliest possible time that Jamaica will see any effects is projected to be Monday.

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