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Tropical Storm Ernesto Bears Down on Florida


A hurricane watch and tropical storm warning remain in effect for parts of Florida's east coast as residents brace for Tropical Storm Ernesto. But U.S. weather forecasters say Ernesto is not expected to make landfall as a hurricane.

The fifth named storm of this year's Atlantic hurricane season bore down on South Florida Tuesday, drenching Miami and other areas. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says the storm could dump as much as 38 centimeters of rain in some areas and warned that isolated tornadoes are possible over places such as the Florida Keys.

Authorities warn that Ernesto could become a hurricane again as it reaches the Atlantic and make landfall in either Georgia or South Carolina. A tropical storm warning is in effect from New Smyrna Beach, Florida to Altamaha Sound, Georgia.

Floridians worried about the storm topped off their gasoline tanks Tuesday in a flurry of panic buying that officials say left some pumps dry. A state of emergency remains in effect in Florida and Governor Jeb Bush has advised residents to make sure they have enough food and water to last three days.

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