Story highlights

NEW: Ernesto is 5 miles from Mexico's Gulf coast

NEW: It is expected to weaken as it moves over land

NEW: A tropical storm warning is in effect for the region

The storm surge could reach 3 feet, forecasters say

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Mexico City CNN —  

Tropical storm Ernesto skirted the Mexican coast Thursday with top winds of 60 miles an hour, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

As of 2 p.m. ET, the storm was about 5 miles north of Coatzacoalcos, which is southeast of Mexico City along the Gulf of Mexico, the Hurricane Center said. A tropical storm warning was in effect from Veracruz to Chiltepec, about 60 miles inland.

Ernesto is expected to move slowly over southern Mexico later Thursday and on Friday and weaken as the center of the storm moves over the high terrain of Mexico, the Hurricane Center said.

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The storm could bring as much as 10 inches of rain to the state of Veracruz and neighboring Tabasco, Puebla, and Oaxaca through Friday, and may produce life-threatening flash floods or mudslides over high terrain, the hurricane center said.

It also warned of a storm surge of 1 to 3 feet above normal along the coast, along with large and dangerous waves.

Ernesto made initial landfall Tuesday night as a Category 1 hurricane in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, on the Yucatan Peninsula, before moving back into the Gulf.

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