How can ANYONE say that the NHC was "right on" with their forecast? They did not have a grasp on this storm from the beginning right up through landfall. The storm was "supposed" to be a GOM Cat 3-4 hurricane affecting the upper Central Gulf Coast. That certainly didn't verify.
Everytime the NHC predicted a particular course for Ernesto, the storm went in its own direction. Example: it was NEVER supposed to go over Haiti and emerge off the north coast of Cuba in the Atlantic. Granted, forecasts 3-5 days out have an expected error rate, but the NHC didn't even nail down directional nor intensity trends correctly within a 12-24 hour frame. When the storm moved into eastern Cuba, NHC forecast a fairly quick reemergence over water. Ernesto had other plans and turned West, staying over land almost a full 18-24 hours longer than expected. Once over water in the Florida Straits, intensification was forecast, which did not happen at all. Why was that second ULL over the Bahamas (that seemed to impede intensification after Ernesto emerged N of Cuba) not forseen? They forecasted nearly ideal environmental conditions once the original ULL moved off to the west over the Yucatan.
I am not NHC bashing in any way. Overall, they do an excellent job. But, for some reason with this storm, the models and all computer guidance they rely on for forecasting did not verify. There is still a LOT we have to learn on the mechanisms that drive the weather, and Ernesto is a perfect example of this.
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