The intensity forecast
The latest . . . model runs are in, and they again portray a conflicting picture of what may happen. Two of the four major global models--UKMET and GFS--dissipate or severely weaken the storm by Monday. However, the other two major models, the NOGAPS and GFDL, foresee a major hurricane in the Gulf that hits the Florida Panhandle on Friday. The Canadian model takes a major hurricane to the Louisiana coast on Friday. . . With all that said, I believe that Ernesto will be a major hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico at some point.
The track forecast
As Ernesto crosses into the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, a trough of low pressure will be swinging across the eastern U.S. and should pull the storm on a more northerly track. Most of the models are showing that this trough will be strong enough to bring the storm all the way to the coast between Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle. However, the trough may not be strong enough to do this, and Ernesto could get stuck in the Gulf for a week, potentially heading westwards towards Texas as a new ridge of high pressure builds in. A subsequent trough could then turn the storm northwards into the coast at some later time. The UKMET model and GFS model prefer this solution. At this point, there is not enough information to say which solution is most likely, and residents from Texas to the Florida Keys need to be prepared for this storm to affect them.
The idea of the hurricane being stuck in the gulf is bad news, as it would give the storm more time to develop, and could cripple offshore oil production and interfere with imports considerably. Hopefully, it won't lead to actual fuel shortages and/or rocketing prices, but there is certainly that risk, especially when the investment markets are so dicey that the only sure bets seem to be betting on the price of oil going up.
It might be a fairly sure bet, but that doesn't mean you're not a parasite if you do it.