BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Jamaica and Haiti were on Friday afternoon placed on tropical storm watch, after tropical depression number five strengthened into Tropical Storm Ernesto.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Centre said the system was upgraded after hurricane hunter aircraft determined that the system\’s maximum sustained winds had increased to 40 miles per hour and there was possibility of strengthening over the next 24 hours.

At 5 pm the government of Haiti issued a tropical storm watch for the southwestern peninsula of country, while the Jamaica government also issued a tropical storm watch for the country.

Interests in the Cayman Islands and western Cuba were advised to monitor the storm\’s progress.

At 500 pm the centre of Tropical Storm Ernesto was located near latitude 14.3 north, longitude 67.6 west or about 300 miles south-southwest of San Juan Puerto Rico and about 660 miles east-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica.

Ernesto is moving toward the west-northwest near 16 miles per hour and this general motion is expected to continue for the next 24 hours.

The NHC said tropical storm winds extend outward up to 90 miles from the centre.