A hurricane watch continues for all the Florida Keys from Ocean Reef to the Dry Tortugas including Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Key and Key West.
Monroe County Emergency Management says the National Hurricane Center forecast indicates Ernesto should not exceed Category 1 strength, if the tropical cyclone passes over the Keys late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning as forecasted. Keys tourism spokesman Andy Newman says that means things are quite calm.
“It seems with the last couple of forecasts that the tracking of the storm seems to be shifting to the east so perhaps we might get lucky here. But still people are taking it seriously because we are responding to a category one storm it means that the procedure dictate that there’s not going to be a need for any type of mandatory general resident evacuation.”
A visitor evacuation continues for all the Florida Keys. Those with immediate future travel plans to the Keys must postpone trips until the risk has passed.
The evacuation of special needs patients to the Monroe County shelter at Florida International University began at 6 a.m.
Mobile home and boat dwellers, as well as residents residing in low-lying areas prone to flooding, should leave. Monroe County schools are today.
Forecasters from the National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch for the southern peninsula of Florida as Tropical Storm Ernesto grows closer today. Ernesto has maximum sustained winds of 50 miles-per-hour but forecasters cautioned that the storm could regain hurricane strength before its anticipated arrival today on Cuba's southeastern coast.
The watch was issued from Deerfield Beach near Boca Raton southward on the east coast and from Chokoloskee southward on the west coast. A hurricane watch is in effect for all of the Florida Keys. Keys tourism spokesman Andy Newman says this storm hasn't provided much warning time and has been eratic.
“It’s a strange thing how it’s tropical storm Ernesto, became a hurricane, then the mountains of Haiti really chewed it up and now it’s a tropical storm again and the forecasters are really puzzled about this storm and we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.” :12
Visitors were ordered to leave the Keys yesterday and Governor Jeb Bush issued a state of emergency because of the possibility that Ernesto could threaten much of the state.
At 8 a-m, the storm had top sustained winds of 45 miles-an-hour, moving northwest at 12 miles-an-hour. It was centered 515 miles southeast from Key West.
Monday, 28 August 2006 01:00
The Keys prepare for ErnestoWritten by WGCU Newsroom