Tropical Storm Ernesto 3-day forecast track. NHC/NOAA graphic
By Caribbean News Now contributor
MIAMI, USA -- At 5:00 pm EDT on Monday, the centre of Tropical Storm Ernesto was located about 135 miles northeast of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Nicaragua/Honduras border and about 330 miles east of Isla Roatan, Honduras, moving toward the west-northwest near 12 mph. A hurricane warning has been issued for the entire coast of Belize.
According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, this general motion is expected to continue for the next 48 hours. On the forecast track, the centre will be passing north of the coast of Honduras on Monday night and Tuesday and be near the east coast of the Yucatan peninsula early Wednesday. Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph, with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours and Ernesto could become a hurricane by early Tuesday. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles from the centre.
A hurricane warning is in effect for Chetumal to Punta Allen on the east coast of the Yucatan peninsula; and the entire coast of Belize.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for the coast of Honduras from the Honduras/Nicaragua border westward to Punta Sal, including the Bay Islands, north of Punta Allen to Tulum on the east coast of the Yucatan peninsula
A tropical storm watch is in effect for the coast of Honduras from west of Punta Sal to the Honduras/Guatemala border north of Tulum to Cancun on the east coast of the Yucatan peninsula.
Tropical storm conditions are expected in the tropical storm warning area along the coast of Honduras on Mondaynight through Tuesday. Hurricane conditions are expected to reach the coasts of Belize and Mexico by early Wednesday, with tropical storm conditions possible by Tuesday afternoon.
Ernesto is expected to produce rainfall totals of 3 to 5 inches along the northern coast of Honduras and the northeast coast of Nicaragua, with isolated maximum amounts of 8 inches over mountainous terrain. Rainfall amounts of 4 to 8 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches are expected over the southern portion of the Yucatan peninsula and Belize. These rains are likely to cause dangerous flash floods and mud slides over higher terrain.
A dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 2 to 4 feet above normal tide levels along the immediate coast near and to the north of where the centre makes landfall. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves.
In an attempt to ensure the safety and safeguard of all locals and visitors in Belize, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is in the process of contacting all hotel properties throughout the country in order to obtain the most up-to-date information as it pertains to their respective emergency plans for Ernesto.
The BTB’s official emergency online site: www.belizeemergency.net
will provide the latest updates and information regarding any reported damages and restoration efforts.
For official information on the storm, visit the Belize National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) website: www.nemo.org.bz
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Florence, about 1515 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands, has become a post-tropical remnant low. The centre of the post-tropical cyclone was moving westwards at 15 mph and a westward or west-northwestward motion with an increase in forward speed is expected during the next 48 hours. Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph, with higher gusts. The post-tropical cyclone is expected to weaken further during the next couple of days.