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Tropical Storm Ernesto skirts Mexican Gulf coast, kills three

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Ernesto crossed the coast of the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, sending wind gusts and showers across the state of Veracruz, home to some of Mexico's busiest ports and oil installations.

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Ernesto crossed the coast of the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, sending wind gusts and showers across the state of Veracruz, home to some of Mexico's busiest ports and oil installations.

The storm, with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph, made landfall in the early afternoon close to the port city of Coatzacoalcos. Ernesto was heading west over southern Mexico at a speed of about 10 mph, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said in its 5 p.m. EDT advisory.

Mexico's government downgraded a hurricane warning for the coast of Veracruz to a tropical storm warning. The hurricane center said it expects further weakening as Ernesto moves over mountainous terrain in the next day or two. However, torrential rain and flooding was expected in Veracruz and authorities reported three deaths.

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