Downgraded Ernesto still packs a wallop

Tropical storm Ernesto, downgraded to a tropical storm from hurricane status, moved across southeastern Cuba on Aug. 28, bringing heavy rains, flooding and mud slides in its wake.

The storm already was blamed for one death in Haiti, according to preliminary reports.

Ernesto's northwesterly track prompted hurricane watches along Florida's east coast and all of the Keys.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush earlier ordered a mandatory visitor evacuation in the Keys.

In the Bahamas, storm watches were posted for Andros Island, Bimini and Grand Bahama Island as well as Ragged Island and Great Exuma.

Royal Caribbean altered the itinerary of its Rhapsody of the Seas, which sailed from Galveston on Aug. 27. Revised port calls include Belize City on Aug. 30; Costa Maya, Mexico on Aug. 31; and Cozumel on Sept. 1.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Gay Nagle Myers at [email protected].

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