After today's recon from a hurricane hunter, Tropical Depression Five has been upgraded to Tropical Storm Ernesto. However, Ernesto is only a marginal tropical storm at this time. The official forecast calls for Ernesto to enter the Gulf of Mexico as a hurricane early next week. As of 5pm, tropical storm watches have been issued for Jamaica and parts of Hispanola.
Ernesto's minimal strength is due to moderate wind shear displacing the convection from the center of circulation. This wind shear should be lessening tomorrow and allow for strengthening to begin at that time. While the current convective pattern is hardly impressive, tomorrow could hold a different story. As explained in the previous post, the Western Caribbean holds much deeper warm water that can allow for rapid intensification.
The models are in clear consensus agreeing on a track over the western tip of Cuba. By early next week, Ernesto could be roaming the Gulf of Mexico as a hurricane. The GFDL model is still an outlier showing a track along the north coast of Cuba but also calls for rapid intensification. Pick 'em and choose 'em? My best is something similar to Hurricane Dennis.