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Wet weekend ahead for South Florida

Tropical Storm Ernesto, sailing briskly across the Caribbean, appears on a path well away from South Florida, but another system on the doorstep will likely make for a wet weekend.

Though the sun may pop out here and there, the National Weather Services predicts a tropical wave rolling in from the Bahamas will produce a 70 percent chance of thunderstorms across Miami-Dade and Broward on Saturday, slightly declining on Sunday.

Bob Ebaugh, a meteorological specialist with the weather service in Miami, had a weekend suggestion: “Movies and malls.’’

Ernesto, meanwhile, appeared to be growing better organized as it barreled west at 21 mph, packing 50 mph maximum winds. On its current track, the core of the storm would remain south of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which could see rain from the growing storm’s outer bands.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center predicted Ernesto could become a hurricane by Monday, when it would be somewhere near Jamaica on a path toward Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. But they stressed that after the weekend, there was some uncertainty about its path and intensity. Wind shear could weaken the storm and some computer models steer the storm on a more northwestern bend, which could take it toward western Cuba.

Either way, if Ernesto holds together, it could be somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico by late next week.

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