Ernesto has again weakened to a tropical storm in the last few hours, although it is projected to strengthen back to Hurricane strength in the near future. Ernesto is currently projected to make landfall in the lower southern portion of Florida (well below Tampa). As of the 5:00 pm EDT advisory, "AT 500 PM EDT...2100Z...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM ERNESTO WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 18.0 NORTH...LONGITUDE 74.5 WEST. THIS POSITION IS VERY NEAR THE SOUTHWESTERN TIP OF HAITI...ABOUT 150 MILES...240 KM...WEST-SOUTHWEST OF PORT AU PRINCE HAITI AND ABOUT 160 MILES...255 KM...SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF GUANTANAMO CUBA."
Ernesto strengthened to a category 1 storm overnight, with further strengthening projected during the next 24 hours. Hurricane Ernesto is currently projected to make landfall in the lower southern portion of Florida (near Tampa). As of the 11:00 am EDT advisory, "THE CENTER OF HURRICANE ERNESTO WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 17.6 NORTH...LONGITUDE 73.7 WEST OR ABOUT 115 MILES...185 KM...SOUTHWEST OF PORT AU PRINCE HAITI AND ABOUT 205 MILES...330 KM...SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF GUANTANAMO CUBA. ERNESTO IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHWEST NEAR 9 MPH...15 KM/HR...AND THIS GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS."