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Hurricane Ernesto takes aim at Yucatan Peninsula

Sun Sentinel –

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Hurricane Ernesto increased speed slightly as residents of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula raced to prepare for the storm’s arrival Tuesday night.

The storm, which has maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, increased its forward speed from 14 to 15 mph as it continued on a west northwest path to the peninsula, according to the National Hurricane Center.

At 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday, the system was in the Caribbean about 140 miles east of Chetumal, Mexico. The system could produce up to 5 inches of rain and a storm surge up to 4 feet above normal tide levels along its path.

The storm may strengthen as it nears Mexico, although it is expected to weaken as it passes over land.

A hurricane warning is in effect for Chetumal to Tulum on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Cozumel and the coast of Belize from Belize City to the Mexican border.

The National Hurricane Center is monitoring two other areas of disturbed weather.

One is a tropical wave several hundred miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. The system is being given a 20 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next two days.

The other weather system is shower activity near the post-tropical remnant low that once was Tropical Storm Florence. This system is located about 1,000 miles east of the Leeward Islands and is being given a 10 percent chance of developing into a tropical system during the next two days.

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