8:30 PM CT
August 4, 2012
I am projecting Tropical Storm Ernesto to move on a west-northwest path across the Caribbean as a tropical storm before briefly gaining Category 1 strength prior to making a first landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula.
Following that landfall, Ernesto will likely enter the Gulf of Mexico as a tropical storm, but quickly strengthen back into a hurricane. As rapid strengthening occurs, model guidance and myself find it possible that Ernesto may briefly reach major hurricane status.
Because model guidance only carries Ernesto to roughly a day after exiting the Yucatan Peninsula, a stronger hurricane than what I am projecting may be in store.
Upper level winds look to be on the downturn when Ernesto ejects from the Peninsula, and this could help development in Ernesto after it begins its journey in the Gulf of Mexico.
It is to be noted that the track I am showing will likely only work if significant strengthening occurs. Should strengthening occur slower than what I am thinking, the tropical cyclone will likely make landfall in northeast Mexico or extreme southern Texas.
More model watching is needed for me to be confident in this forecast, especially the portion of the forecast in the Gulf of Mexico. Nonetheless, close monitoring is needed for the Gulf Coast.