Tropical storm Ernesto has travelled over Cuba – lashing the east of the island with wind and rain. Inhabitants have pulled through, it appears, largely unscathed. Without ailing leader Fidel Castro at the helm, authorities were taking no chances. Hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated but, with the worst now over, they have started to return home. Haiti and the Dominican Republic did not get off so lightly. Ernesto made landfall there at the weekend. At that time, it was a full-blown hurricane and killed two people near the Haitian port of Gonaives. Only two years ago, the same city fell victim to tragedy when a tropical storm caused mass flooding and killed 3,000 people.
Now, Florida in the United States is bracing itself. Some weather forecasters believe Ernesto could regain its hurricane strength by the time it gets there. A year on from the devastation wreaked by Katrina, people in Florida are making sure they are prepared for every eventuality. Stocking up and hunkering down is becoming an all-too-familiar routine.