As of 4 PM Friday Tropical Storm Erika is heading into the higher elevations of Hispaniola…bringing heavy rain and gusty winds. Erika, however, remains disorganized. The system continues to battle wind shear and dry air…limiting thunderstorms on the western side. Erika’s strongest winds and most intense thunderstorms are located southeast of the center of circulation. Overall, considering the dry air, wind shear, and track across the mountains of Hispaniola, Erika has a 50% chance of survival over the next 24 hours.
Now if Erika can survive beyond Hispaniola and Cuba, there will be a small window of time Saturday into Sunday for better organization and strengthening. Warmer waters (energy) and lower wind shear could lead to that intensification.
Landfall in Southern Florida is possible Sunday…with Erika traveling northward throughout the state Monday. Monday night into Tuesday morning Erika may briefly reemerge into the Atlantic Ocean. If this occurs, intensification into a tropical storm is possible. Although a weak hurricane can’t be ruled out, the chances currently are low. Depends on how organized Erika will be and how much time is spent over the warm waters off the FL coast.
WORST CASE SCENARIO: Strong tropical storm to weak hurricane. Heavy rain of 4-8″…isolated 8″+. Damaging wind leading to power outages. Several tornadoes possible. Some coastal flooding and storm surge. Rough seas.
TIMING: *IF* Erika impacts our area it would be Monday into Tuesday…before wrapping up Wednesday.
STRENGTH: Models range from a remnant low to a weak hurricane. Most models showing tropical depression or tropical storm.
PROJECTED PATH: Models range from the Florida Panhandle to North Carolina. Most models showing an interaction with Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.
FORECAST CONFIDENCE: Low. We will know more information once the system departs Hispaniola and Cuba Saturday.
Keep it here to Storm Team 3 for the very latest!
– WSAV Meteorologist Matt Devitt