Tropical Storm 05L (Erika) is moving through the Caribbean Islands…and is located approximately 65 miles south-southeast of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Tropical cyclone 05L (Erika) is pushing through the Caribbean Islands, as a tropical storm…eventually reaching southern Florida early next week
This tropical storm is located about 65 miles south-southeast of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic…moving west-northwestward at 18 mph.
According to the NHC, morning visible satellite imagery shows that the broad low-level center of Erika is exposed to the west of the main convective area, due to the effects of 20-25 knots of westerly vertical wind shear.
An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft has reported a large area of 40-45 knot surface wind, so the initial intensity remains 45 knots.
Now that the center is somewhat easier to locate, the initial motion is a somewhat more confident west-northwest at 16 knots. A generally west-northwestward motion is expected for the next 48 hours or so, as TS Erika moves around the southwestern periphery of the subtropical ridge.
After that time, a northwestward and northward turn and a decrease in forward speed are forecast. as Erika moves between the ridge and a mid- to upper-level trough of low pressure over the Gulf of Mexico. The track guidance continues to show some spread based on the forecast strength of Erika.
The models with a stronger cyclone, such as the GFDL and GFS, show a faster northward turn and are on the eastern side of the guidance envelope. On the other hand, the ECMWF forecasts a weaker storm and lies on the left side of the envelope. An extra complication is that passage over Hispaniola is likely to disrupt the circulation, with the possibility that the center could reform somewhere northwest or west of the island.
Overall, the guidance envelope has shifted a little to the west since the previous advisory, and the new forecast track shows a similar nudge through 96 hours. The guidance is also showing a faster forward speed than six hours ago, so the new track is also a little faster than the previous track.
Westerly to southwesterly vertical wind shear is forecast to continue or increase during the next 12 to 24 hours. This, combined with land interaction, suggests that the cyclone should weaken, and there is a chance the system could degenerate to a tropical wave while crossing Hispaniola. Hispaniola has 10,000 foot mountains that could have a major influence on the integrity of this storm system.
Assuming the cyclone survives, the shear should decrease some after 36 hours, which could allow some strengthening up to the time of possible landfall on the Florida Peninsula. The new intensity forecast is an update of the previous forecast, and like the previous forecast it is low confidence.
The greatest short-term threat posed by Erika continues to be very heavy rainfall over portions of the Dominican Republic and Haiti today and tonight. These rains could produce flash floods and mud slides. Here’s the latest radar image from the NWS Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands.
Here’s the HWRF model rainfall forecast
Maximum surface winds at the NHC advisory #15 was 50 mph winds
Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 150 miles to the east of the center. Punta Cana at the eastern end of the Dominican Republic recently reported a wind gust of 40 mph
WATCHES AND WARNINGS:
The Government of Cuba has issued a Tropical Storm Watch for the provinces of Ciego de Avila, Camaguey, Las Tunas, Holguin, and Guantanamo.
The Tropical Storm Warning has been discontinued for the U. S. Virgin Islands.
The Meteorological Service of Antigua has discontinued the Tropical Storm Warning for the British Virgin Islands..
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* Puerto Rico
* Dominican Republic
* Southeastern Bahamas
* Turks and Caicos Islands
* Central Bahamas
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…
* Northwestern Bahamas
* The Cuban Provinces of Ciego de Avila, Camaguey, Las Tunas, Holguin, and Guantanamo
A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area.
A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.
Interests elsewhere in eastern and central Cuba, as well as the southern Florida Peninsula and Florida Keys, should monitor the progress of Erika.
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
WIND: Tropical storm conditions affecting Puerto Rico will continue for the next several hours before subsiding later today. Tropical storm conditions are currently spreading across portions of the Dominican Republic. Tropical storm conditions are expected to spread across Haiti today, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas later today and tonight, and the central Bahamas on Saturday. Tropical storm conditions are possible in the northwestern Bahamas by Saturday night.
RAINFALL: Erika is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 3 to 6 inches with maximum amounts of 10 inches possible across portions of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the southeastern and central Bahamas through Saturday. An additional 1 to 2 inches is expected for Puerto Rico. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.
1.) A tropical wave is forecast to move off of the west coast of Africa over the weekend. Some slow development is possible through the middle of next week while the system moves west-northwestward near the Cape Verde Islands at about 10 mph.
* Formation chance through 48 hours…low…near 0 percent
* Formation chance through 5 days…low…30 percent
Here’s a satellite image of the Atlantic Ocean
Tropical Cyclone 05L (Erika)
WSI satellite image of the Caribbean Sea
Gulf of Mexico
Latest satellite image of the Gulf of Mexico