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Originally published Friday, August 3, 2012 at 5:02 AM

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Tropical Storm Ernesto churns toward Jamaica

Tropical Storm Ernesto churned over open waters early Saturday on a path toward Jamaica and Mexico after dumping heavy rain on islands in the eastern Caribbean.

The Associated Press

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ROSEAU, Dominica —

Tropical Storm Ernesto churned over open waters early Saturday on a path toward Jamaica and Mexico after dumping heavy rain on islands in the eastern Caribbean.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Ernesto was expected to approach Jamaica on Sunday and strengthen into a hurricane on Monday on a route that would take it to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula by mid-week.

On Friday, Dominica closed its international airport for a second day, while St. Lucia ordered businesses to close for half the day as Ernesto swept through the area. A ferry that travels to Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique and St. Lucia also temporarily suspended service.

No damage or flooding was reported on islands affected by the storm. Gusts of up to 60 mph (95 kph) were reported in some areas.

The hurricane center said Ernesto was about 305 miles (490 kilometers) south-southwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and about 690 miles (1,115 kilometers) east-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, early Saturday. It was moving westward at 18 mph (30 kph).

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