I agree with Margie... Beta is definitely feeling some shear from the east, regardless of what the shear analysis might show. The convective tops from the outer band to the east are blowing towards the center, which is not a healthy sign for a tropical system. Slow development is still possible while that continues, but it won't take off unless the shear is lessened at some point.
Currently, it appears the system is being gently tugged to the north. However, as the shortwave to its north passes well to the NE, the steering from that feature will cease. The stronger-than-expected easterly flow at some level that is shearing the system presently may help to push it west after that.
Of the more reliable models (LBAR and NHC98E are not reliable), only the CMC models shows a definite movement to the north into the Gulf. The 12Z UKMET is further north than the GFS/GFDL, but still brings the system west along the Honduran coast. It seems to lose the system after that, so it is hard to say where it would go from there. The bottom line here is that if it turns west into Nicaragua, then it will not affect the U.S.. If the center gets north of the Honduran coastline, then all bets are off.
A recon plane should be into the system soon to give us the first true reading of the current intensity and structure.
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