On the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated 16.5 million people are in the projected three-day path of Tropical Storm Ernesto. Ernesto is approaching South Florida, the most densely populated area in the state.
According to the latest advisories issued by the National Hurricane Center, Ernesto will near the Florida Keys and extreme southern Florida tonight, if it continues on its current track. A tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch are in effect from New Smyrna Beach southward on the east coast, from Bonita Beach southward on the west coast, and for all of the Florida Keys.
Ernesto is the fifth named storm of the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season. As the season progresses, the Census Bureau will continue to post information on its new Hurricane Data and Emergency Preparedness Web page <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/emergencies/>.