U.S. Weather

Tropical Storm Ernesto passes over Windward Islands, heads toward Jamaica, Mexico


This NOAA satellite image taken Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 1:45 p.m. EDT shows cloud cover over the Antilles. (AP/Weather Underground)

Tropical Storm Ernesto is dumping heavy rain across the eastern Caribbean as it heads west toward Jamaica and Mexico.

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

No damage or flooding has been reported on islands affected by the storm. Gusts of up to 63 mph were reported in some areas.

The National Hurricane Center said Ernesto was located about 210 miles west of St. Lucia by late afternoon with top sustained winds of 50 mph.

It is moving at 21 mph and is expected to strengthen into a hurricane by Monday.