Tropical Storm Ernesto churns toward Jamaica

This NOAA satellite image taken Friday, Aug. 03, 2012, at 1:45 a.m. EDT shows Tropical Storm Ernesto just 90 miles east of St. Lucia. This system continues moving west at 22 mph at tropical storm strength with winds up to 50 mph. Tropical storm warnings remain in effect for Barbados, St. Vincent, The Grenadines, Dominica, St. Lucia, Martinique, and Guadeloupe. Expect heavy rains and strong winds in these areas. To the north, a strong tropical wave brings widespread showers and thunderstorms to the Bahamas and Cuba, which moves westward into southern Florida. This system kicks up scattered showers and thunderstorms as it slowly moves westward. (AP Photo/Weather Underground)

ROSEAU, Dominica (AP) — Tropical Storm Ernesto churned over open waters early Saturday on a path toward Jamaica and Mexico after dumping heavy rain on islands in the eastern Caribbean.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Ernesto was expected to approach Jamaica on Sunday and strengthen into a hurricane on Monday on a route that would take it to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula by mid-week.

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

No damage or flooding was reported on islands affected by the storm. Gusts of up to 60 mph (95 kph) were reported in some areas.

The hurricane center said Ernesto was about 305 miles (490 kilometers) south-southwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and about 690 miles (1,115 kilometers) east-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, early Saturday. It was moving westward at 18 mph (30 kph).