Possible TS Ernesto Eyes Jamaica - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/25/06 MIAMI, FL

Possible TS Ernesto Eyes Jamaica

Tropical Storm Debby is at upper left in this satellite image taken at 2:15 a.m. ET Friday. Tropical Storm Debby is at upper left in this satellite image taken at 2:15 a.m. ET Friday.

The depression, which formed Thursday, had maximum sustained winds near 35 mph, below tropical storm strength of 39 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. It was expected to become Tropical Storm Ernesto later Friday.

"It's starting to have some of the signs of a tropical storm," said hurricane specialist Eric Blake. "We have it passing pretty close to Jamaica in a couple of days and slowly intensifying. It could be a hurricane in the northwest Caribbean sea."

At 5 a.m. EDT, the depression was centered about 345 miles south of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Forecasters said it was moving west at about 20 mph.

Meanwhile, Debby was only a threat to ships crossing the Atlantic, forecasters said.

At 5 a.m. EDT, the storm was centered about 1,285 miles west-northwest of the Cape Verde islands, which are about 350 miles off the African coast. It was moving toward the west-northwest near 17 mph, and was expected to continue on that path for the next day, the hurricane center said.

The storm had top sustained winds near 50 mph, with little change in strength forecast for the next day.

Debby is the fourth named storm of the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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