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Tropical Storm Emily chugs through Caribbean on uncertain path toward Florida

A poorly organized Tropical Storm Emily continued to chug through the Caribbean early Tuesday as hurricane forecasters struggled to get an accurate read on how much it will intensify and where it will go.

A National Hurricane Center five-day forecast shows Emily passing to the east of Florida as a tropical storm this weekend — without making landfall and without reaching hurricane strength.

Emily was about 250 miles southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and moving west at about 16 mph, according to an early Tuesday update from the NHC. The system had maximum sustained winds of nearly 40 mph.

The fifth named storm of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to turn west-northwest over the next 48 hours and approach Hispaniola Tuesday night and Wednesday. Some slow strengthening is possible, according to the NHC.

But the storm's path is uncertain, said Bay News 9 Meteorologist Juli Marquez.

The National Hurricane Center is having difficulty finding the storm's center and that affects future models, she said. "Computer models are uncertain where it will go and how strong it will," she said.

The National Hurricane Center shows Emily passing over Hispaniola before moving along Florida's east coast over the weekend.

A lot depends on what happens in the next two days, Marquez said.

Right now, it's "wait and see," she said.

Tropical Storm Emily chugs through Caribbean on uncertain path toward Florida 08/02/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 8:45am]

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