During the day...Ernesto became somewhat more organized-looking on radar and satellite images. Recently...however...the presentation has become a bit ragged-looking on the imagery. Flight-level winds have not increased...and the fall in central pressure this afternoon was roughly commensurate with the typical semi-diurnal pressure change. In other words...Ernesto is not strengthening. It is somewhat puzzling why the tropical cyclone has not intensified today. One negative factor might be modest easterly shear as suggested by water vapor images and a westward tilt of the vortex with height as implied by center position estimates from aircraft flying at 1500 and 7500 feet as well as WSR-88D radar. There is still a narrow window of opportunity for Ernesto to gain some strength before reaching Florida...but that window will soon close. After Ernesto moves back over water and approaches the southeast U.S. Coast...dynamical guidance suggests that the system could approach hurricane strength. Therefore a Hurricane Watch has been issued for portions of the Georgia coast...the South Carolina coast...and a portion of the North Carolina coast.
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