Earlier in the day Monday, it looked like Ernesto was about to undergo a strengthening period. The hurricane hunters found that the central pressure had dropped and it's forward speed had decreased as well. This is usually a sign of strengthening. However, Ernesto has only become modestly stronger with max winds of xx mph. Judging from the satellite pictures, the storm is still lop-sided with stronger thunderstorms located east of the center and not truly wrapping around the whole storm.
Nevertheless, it is moving into very warm Western Caribbean water and a high pressure cell over the storm should help it become a hurricane sometime tomorrow. However, it isn't very far from land, so even if it does strengthen, it will quickly encounter the coast of Belize and the rest of the mountainous regions of Guatemala and southern Mexico. The forecast track has it weakening back to a tropical storm and re-emerging in the very warm Bay of Campeche (southernmost part of the Gulf of Mexico).
After that, it may strengthen once again but remain a tropical storm striking just south of Tampico by late Friday. That far down in the Gulf, Ernesto poses no threat to Texas. We've been following Ernesto for a week, since it emerged off the west coast of Africa and it won't be until the end of this week that we're done with it.
Speaking of that spawning ground for storms, a new one may be taking shape:
The National Hurricane Center rates it's chances of developing at 20%, but those chances will likely go up over the next few days. We could be talking about Tropical Storm Gordon soon. Long-range computer models push the next system gradually westward through the Atlantic:
Stay tuned; the Cape Verde season is cranking up.