Update, 6am: The center of Ernesto moved over or very near St. Lucia earlier this morning. Ernesto is moving toward the west near 24 mph, and will move away from the Windward Islands and farther into the Eastern Caribbean Sea later this morning.
Tropical Depression Five was upgraded to Tropical Storm Ernesto by the National Hurricane Center at 5pm EDT Thursday.
The tropical cyclone is moving westward at 22 mph and has maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour. It was located about 295 miles east of the Windward Islands.
The National Hurricane Center’s official forecast predicts Ernesto to pass in the vicinity of the Cayman Islands sometime next Tuesday morning as a Category 1 hurricane. The forecast path of Ernesto would take the centre of the storm south of Grand Cayman, all three of the Cayman Islands are in the five-day cone of track uncertainty.
Although the storm was not well organized, it still strengthened Thursday in an environment of strong wind shear. However, the National Hurricane Center stated that global forecasting models suggest it will not find an environment conducive for further intensification until it reaches the Western Caribbean.
Ernesto to is expected to continue to track almost due west for the next couple of days, but then to slow its forward speed and make a gradual turn to the west-northwest this weekend.