Ernesto may become a hurricane approaching the Gulf by early next week.
The depression in the Atlantic has strengthened into the fifth tropical storm of the season.
As a result, the government of Barbados has issued a Tropical Storm Warning for Barbados, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, and Dominica.
The center of Tropical Storm Ernesto was located near latitude 12.8 north…longitude 56.6 west. This is about 295 miles east of the Windward Islands. Ernesto is moving toward the west near 22 mph. This general motion is expected to continue for the next 48 hours. On the forecast track, the center of the storm should be near the Windward Islands by late tonight or early Friday.
Reports from an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter plane indicate that the maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph, with higher gusts. Some slight strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles from the center…mainly to the north and northeast.