ABOUT 60 MI…95 KM SW OF SANTO DOMINGO DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
ABOUT 305 MI…490 KM SE OF GREAT INAGUA ISLAND
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…50 MPH…85 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…W OR 280 DEGREES AT 18 MPH…30 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…1009 MB…29.80 INCHES
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.
On the forecast track, the center of Erika will 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.
Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph (85 km/h) with higher gusts. Some weakening is forecast this afternoon and tonight as Erika moves over land, followed by little change in strength through Saturday night.
Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 150 miles (240 km) to the east of the center. Punta Cana at the eastern end of the Dominican Republic has been reporting wind gusts of 40 mph (64 km/h) for the past few hours.
The minimum central pressure based on Hurricane Hunter aircraft data and surface observations is 1009 mb (29.80 inches).
The Tropical Storm Warning has been discontinued for the British and U.S.Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra.
The islands will continue to experience unstable weather conditions as a result of Tropical Storm Erika but will stabilise as the system moves further away.
According to Dr. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground, “Erika’s battle against dry air and high wind shear has caused the center of the storm to reform several time to the south of its original position, closer to the storm’s heaviest thunderstorms. These southward shifts mean that Erika is now poised to track directly over mountainous Hispaniola island, whose highest peak exceeds 10,000 feet in height. This encounter will not go well for Erika, particularly since wind shear will remain a high 15 – 25 knots during the traverse, and dry air will continue to wrap into Erika’s circulation during the crossing.
“These combined factors could lead to Erika’s dissipation by Saturday morning. The traverse of the island may also cause the center to reform to the west of the island, which would then mean that Erika would encounter some of the high terrain of eastern Cuba. If Erika survives into Saturday morning, which I give a 50% chance of occurring, the storm may have time to intensify into a strong tropical storm with 60 mph winds before hitting South Florida. If Erika dissipates over Hispaniola Friday night, the storm could still reorganize into a minimal-strength tropical storm with 40 mph winds before encountering South Florida.”
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* 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.