A hurricane watch was issued for all of the Florida Keys, meaning that hurricane conditions are possible within the area generally within 36 hours.Ernesto is forecast to strengthen as it moves away from Haiti and could regain hurricane status by the time it reaches Cuba.
One computer model has the storm crossing from eastern Cuba to southeast Florida, and another has it going over Cuba, through the Florida Straits and into the extreme southeast Gulf of Mexico before turning northeast.
Said National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield:
The tricky part is when that turn to the north really occurs.Katrina, the costliest U.S. natural disaster ever, devastated New Orleans and killed about 1,500 people. Ernesto would be the first hurricane of the 2006 season, which runs runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. Last year's season was the most active on record, with 15 hurricanes including Katrina.