Philip J. Klotzbach of the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University has issued his predictions for the 2016 Hurricane Season.
At 200 PM AST, the center of Tropical Storm Erika was located near latitude 17.7 North, longitude 70.2 West. Erika has been moving westward near 18 mph (30 km/h) for the past several hours. A motion toward the west-northwest is expected to being later this afternoon or tonight and continue through Sunday. Erika is forecast to move over the Dominican Republic and Haiti during the next few hours, move near the Turks and Caicos Islands tonight, and move near the central and northwestern Bahamas Saturday and Saturday night.
At 1100 AM AST (1500 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Erika was located near latitude 16.1 North, longitude 57.6 West. Erika is moving toward the west near 17 mph (28 km/h), and a west to west-northwestward motion is expected over the next 48 hours. On the forecast track, the center of Erika will move near the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Thursday. Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph (75 km/h) with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours.
At 11:00 a.m., the center of Tropical Storm Erika was located near latitude 15.2 degrees north, longitude 51 degrees west or about 909 miles east-southeast of the BVI. Erika is moving toward the west near 20 miles per hour (mph). A west-northwestward motion at a slightly slower forward speed is expected over the next 48 hours. On the forecast track, the center of Erika will be near the Leeward Islands Wednesday night and early Thursday. Maximum sustained winds remain near 45 mph with higher gusts. Some slow strengthening is possible during the next 48 hours. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 80 miles from the center.
According to Accuweather, El Niño will continue to greatly limit tropical development in the Atlantic Basin and greatly scale back rainfall in the Caribbean. El Niño is associated with warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean. While this warm water and correspondingly rising air in part of the Pacific leads to stronger and more frequent tropical storms in the same basin, it generally translates to less storms and few opportunities for rainfall in the tropical Atlantic.
Earlier in June, hurricane experts from the Colorado State University, Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray, issued an update to their original hurricane forecast showing little change to their initial predictions for the 2015 hurricane season. With an increase in named storms by one, due to the early formation of Tropical Storm Ana in May, they reiterated that we have a 22% chance of a major hurricane tracking in to the Caribbean during the 2015 hurricane season. Their findings, broken down island by island, make interesting reading and caution against complacency.
A large area of Sahara dust is currently moving its way across the Atlantic and we could begin to feel the effects in the BVI as early as this weekend. Saharan dust storms pass through the Caribbean region several times a year, primarily in the spring and summer months.