According to the National Hurricane Center’s 5:00 a.m. AST bulletin, the center of “poorly-organized tropical storm Erika” was located about 85 miles, 140 kms, west of Guadeloupe and about 260 miles, 420 kms, east-southeast of San Juan Puerto Rico.
“Erika is moving toward the west-northwest near 7 mph, 11 km/hr, and this motion is expected to continue for the next day or two with some increase in forward speed,” the NHC bulletin continued. “On the forecast track the weather associated with Erika will continue to move through the Leeward Islands this morning and approach the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico later today.”
The storm’s maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph, 65 km/hr, with higher gusts, but the NHC forecast a “gradual weakening” during the next couple of days. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 230 miles, 370 kms, from the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1008 mb, 29.77 inches.
Tropical storm warnings have been posted along Erika’s path, and heavy rains – between 2 and 4 inches- are expected.
Fortunately, Erika appears to be a weak storm system, as the NHC’s 5-day storm track forecast puts it on course directly towards Florida.
The NHC is also tracking a new storm system, which appears to be forming off of the Cape Verde Islands, the birthplace of many of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes.
Source: National Hurricane Center – www.nhc.noaa.gov