Although Arlene is still TS as of this writing, it is very close to being a hurricane. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from eastern LA over to the entire FL panhandle. A Hurricane Watch for MS, AL, and the western FL panhandle. AND, a Hurricane Warning for MS and AL and extreme western FL panhandle. The official forecast does bring Arlene up to a minimal hurricane by landfall, which is expected early this afternoon very close to where Ivan made its first US landfall last year.
Convection is still quite asymmetric and is much weaker now than it had been previously, but the wind field has tightened up drastically and short-term intensity changes are just not well understood.
Intensity as of 09Z this morning is 60kts and 990mb. This is likely to be the intensity at landfall ± 5kts. But locations to the east of landfall will experience higher winds and a higher likelihood of tornadoes generated by the hurricane.
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.