Tropical Storm Erika is churning up the southern Atlantic waters. As of 5 PM Friday evening, Erika has sustained winds at 50 mph and moving relatively quickly towards the west and at 21 mph. The graphic above shows the forecast track for Erika. Forecast to move over portions of Dominican Republic on Today. Portions of Cuba Saturday night/Sunday morning. Heavy rain will be the main issue, the winds sustained with Erika at this point are not all that impressive. The track for Erika has shifted dramatically over the past 24 hours, Thursday it looked like Erika would parallel the Florida Coast. The latest guidance has Erika on track to make more of a northern shift as it approaches Florida and make landfall in southern Florida. We will be keeping our eyes on Erika over the next few days as a lot may change as Erika moves over a highly elevated Dominican Republic. I wanted to point out, there will be strong high pressure to the north as Erika makes its approach to the north. High pressure should help to really slow this storm down. There is a very good chance that Erika could stall out just off the FL, GA and SC coasts. We will be tracking Erika.
One thing to note is, Erika is forecast to move through an unfavorable area with wind shear over the next 24-36 hours. If Erika is able to maintain its form through the Bahamas, there should be a major increase in strength during the day on Saturday due to much warmer sea surface temperatures. During this time, it will be making its approach towards the U.S. coast. As of Thursday morning, the tropical force winds extend 140 miles from the center of rotation of Erika.
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Thanks for reading!
-Meteorologist Kevin Arnone