Based on the radar, it looks more like the NE part of the nascent eyewall that is open, rather than the NW. Regardless, I'm sure NHC is getting nervous about not having any hurricane advisories up for Ernesto. I wouldn't be surprised to see some hoisted up on the next advisory, even if they keep the intensity forecast slightly below hurricane strength.
This is one case where forecasting an intensity range (analogous to the "cone" for the forecast track) would be useful, rather than just a single number.
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