CANCUN, Mexico, (Reuters) – Tropical Storm Ernesto doused Honduras and Belize as it churned through the western Caribbean on Tuesday and U.S. forecasters expected it to hit popular Mexican tourist destinations on the southern Yucatan peninsula later in the evening.

Authorities from the Mexican state of Quintana Roo have ordered the evacuation of some 1,500 people in the southern portion of the state, known for its scuba diving and eco-tourism attractions.

While the eye of Ernesto is not expected to hit the region's major resort of Cancun, some rain has started to fall in the area, which is packed with local and international visitors this time of the year.

Cancun, some 230 miles (380 km) to the north of the storm's forecast path, was devastated in 2005 by Hurricane Wilma, the most intense storm ever recorded in the Atlantic.

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