This storm has less than 24 hours over water before getting acquainted with the Carolinas. But Ernesto is already stronger than it has been in quite a while: 55 mph winds, 996 mb of pressure. It’s forecast to strengthen further, but it’s all a question of how much….
Update: One possible answer to my question posed above is, we may never know. As Lixion Avila puts it in the latest forecast discussion:
SINCE NEITHER I NOR THE MODELS ARE GOOD ENOUGH TO PRECISELY KNOW IF ERNESTO WILL HAVE AN INTENSITY OF 64 KNOTS AT LANDFALL…WHICH IS THE BORDER BETWEEN HURRICANE AND TROPICAL STORM INTENSITY AND 4 KNOTS ABOVE THE FORECAST…A HURRICANE WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR A PORTION OF THE COAST.