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Cuba Braces for Tropical Storm Ernesto

Tropical Storm Ernesto is due to strike Cuba early Monday after dumping heavy rains on Haiti and the Dominican Republic Sunday.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the storm is expected to return to hurricane strength with wins of about 120 kilometers-per-hour as it approaches Cuba. Tens of thousands of residents on the eastern part of the island have been evacuated.

Ernesto was at hurricane strength early Sunday, but was later downgraded to a tropical storm. It dumped heavy rains on flood-prone and mudslide-prone areas of Haiti.

The storm is predicted to cross Cuba, then intensify again as it heads north toward the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Keys - a string of U.S. islands dividing the Atlantic Ocean from the Gulf of Mexico.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.