Tropical Storm Ernesto

Tropical Storm Ernesto could become hurricane on Tuesday (National Weather Service, courtesy / August 6, 2012)

An up-and-down Tropical Storm Ernesto is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane by Tuesday and take aim at Belize or Mexico’s Yucatan with sustained winds of 85 mph.

At 11 p.m. on Monday, the system was in the Caribbean about 365 miles east of Belize City, Belize moving northwest at 13 mph with sustained winds of 65 mph.

Earlier on Monday, forecasters said they didn't expect Ernesto to strengthen beyond tropical storm status because it was being attacked by wind shear and dry air.

However, a hurricane hunter aircraft found the system's core reformed and became better organized in the process.

After crossing the Yucatan, Ernesto is forecast to emerge in the southern Gulf of Mexico on Thursday and hit mainland Mexico on Friday, possibly as a hurricane.

The system could produce up to 5 inches of rain and a storm surge up to 4 feet above normal tide levels along its path.

Ernesto has force some cruise lines to alter their itineraries.

For instance, the Carnival Legend, Carnival Triumph and Carnival Dream cruise ships had to change their plans, Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said Monday.

At one point Carnival Freedom and Carnival Magic also had modified itineraries but the ships ended up reverting to their original schedules based on the path of the storm, Gulliksen said.

If traveling on a cruise during hurricane season, travelers should check with their cruise lines before heading out to their port of departure in the event of unexpected itinerary changes, experts advise.

Meanwhile, what was once Tropical Storm Florence has fizzled in the Atlantic. The National Hurricane Center issued its last advisory on the system on Monday morning.