FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 06-E1
Date: August 27, 2006
CONTACT: Public Information (850) 921-0384
Hurricane Ernesto Forms in the Caribbean
--Florida residents need to monitor and prepare--
TALLAHASSEE - Members of the State Emergency Response Team (SERT)
continue to monitor the progress of Hurricane Ernesto (Ernesto) that
strengthened overnight in the Caribbean Sea. Tropical Storm or
hurricane watches may be issued for portions of the Florida Keys and
possibly south Florida later today.
As of 11 A.M. Sunday, the center of Ernesto was located approximately
205 miles to the south-southeast of Guantanamo, Cuba, which is also
about 715 miles to the southeast of Key West. Ernesto is moving towards
the northwest around 9 mph, with maximum sustained winds near 75 mph,
which is Category 1 hurricane strength.
“We are asking Floridians to closely follow this storm,” said Florida
Emergency Management Director Craig Fugate. “Now is a good time to
review and update your plans and be prepared to act if called upon by
your local officials.”
The State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee activated Sunday to
a Level 2, or partial activation, with key support functions reporting.
The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center predicts that
Ernesto to strengthen to Category 2 status before making landfall along
the Cuban coastline on Monday. Ernesto is expected to emerge over the
Florida Straits or the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday morning.
Interaction with the Cuban terrain will likely weaken Ernesto to
Category 1 strength by Tuesday morning. Ernesto may begin to impact the
Keys or south Florida with tropical storm conditions beginning on
Tuesday morning. The forecast remains uncertain towards the mid-portion
of the week as Ernesto moves over the eastern Gulf of Mexico, but there
is the potential for Ernesto to re-strengthen into a Category 2
hurricane and threaten the state's west coast or the Big Bend.
Residents and visitors to the state should remain updated on the latest
information from the National Hurricane Center and local officials as
Ernesto potentially threatens Florida.
Residents and marine interests along the Keys should continue to monitor
National Weather Service forecasts and heed local officials for marine
warnings, and possible evacuation orders. All Floridians are encouraged
to review their family disaster plans and check supply kits. To GET A
PLAN! Go to: www.FloridaDisaster.org
For additional information on Hurricane Ernesto and the State Emergency
Response Team, please visit the Florida Division of Emergency Management
on-line at: www.FloridaDisaster.org.
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