The Hurricane Center, as of 8am this morning, has moved the track for Ernesto further to the east. This is good news for us here in Tampa, as it will put us on the “backside” of this storm. This also means it will come on shore at nearly the tip of the Florida penennsula, and track over land all the way up the center of the state.
This also means that the storm will be over water only for the amount of time it takes to cross the Florida straits between here and Cuba, so it will have less time to regain its strength and organization. It is still a tropical storm. It is beginning to move on-shore on the east cost of Cuba about now. This should help keep the storm disorganized.
However, they are saying it could get as strong as a Category 2 by the time it gets to Florida. Interestingly enough, they keep Ernesto as a hurricane throughout the time it is over Florida. Then it moves out into the Atlantic, and skims the coast up to Cape Hatteras on the North Carolina Coast as a hurricane.