Ernesto weakens to a tropical storm over Mexico

MIAMI (AP) -- Ernesto has weakened to a tropical storm as it moves across Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula after hitting it as a hurricane.

Ernesto's maximum sustained winds decreased early Wednesday to near 70 mph (110 kph) with additional weakening expected as the storm moves over land. But the U.S. National Hurricane Center says Ernesto could regain hurricane strength after its center emerges over the Bay of Campeche.

The storm is centered about 55 miles (85 kilometers) west-northwest of Chetumal, Mexico, and is moving west near 15 mph (24 kph).

Ernesto had sustained winds of 85 mph (140 kph) when it swept over the shore town of Mahuahal shortly before midnight Tuesday and moved into a sparsely populated coastal region.