Ernesto is expected to bring areas in Belize, the southern Yucatan Peninsula and northern Guatemala up to 12 inches of rain.

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Hurricane Ernesto is expected to make landfall Tuesday night

Outer bands of the storm, with tropical storm force winds, near land

The storm is about 65 miles from Mexico's coast

CNN  — 

The Mexican and Belizean governments issued hurricane warnings Monday for the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula as Tropical Storm Ernesto churned toward the area.

The Category 1 hurricane was forecast to make landfall Tuesday night and could strengthen before it does.

The Mexican government extended a hurricane warning to the island of Cozumel on Tuesday as the storm advanced in the Caribbean.

Belize issued a hurricane warning from Belize City to the border with Mexico. There is a tropical storm warning south of Belize City.

As of Monday afternoon, the storm was about 160 miles (260 kilometers) east of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Nicaraguan-Honduran border, the National Hurricane Center reported. Ernesto was moving west-nothwest at 12 mph with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph.

The storm was expected to pass to the south of the Cayman Islands and near the northern coast of Honduras on Monday night.

The storm could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, the hurricane center warned.

Between 4 to 8 inches of rain are expected in some areas of the region, with as much as 12 inches in parts of the Mexican states of Tabasco and Veracruz.

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Belize, the southern Yucatan Peninsula and northern Guatemala may get up to 12 inches of rain in some areas.

Areas of Honduras and the Yucatan Peninsula were under tropical storm warnings.

Ernesto will cause a surge when it reaches the coast, increasing water levels by as much as 1 to 3 feet above normal tide levels in the area near and north of where the storm makes landfall, the hurricane center said.

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