A system caused by the interaction of a tropical wave with a mid to upper level low will spread moderate to heavy rainfall from the Leeward Islands to Puerto Rico and part of Hispaniola this weekend. Conditions in the BVI are expected to intensify tonight and into the weekend, especially on Saturday and the BVI DDM has issued a small craft and swimmers warning. The heavy rainfall could trigger the issuance of flash flood watches or warning.
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 200 PM AST, the center of Tropical Storm Erika was located near latitude 16.5 North, longitude 63.8 West. Erika is moving toward the west near 16 mph (26 km/h). A turn toward the west-northwest is forecast later today, and this general motion should continue for the next 48 hours. On the forecast track, the center of Erika will move near the Virgin Islands later today, move near or over Puerto Rico tonight, and move near or over the Dominican Republic on Friday. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 45 mph (75 km/h) with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours.
At 500 PM AST (2100 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Erika was located near latitude 16.6 North, longitude 58.9 West. Erika is moving toward the west near 17 mph (28 km/h). Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the warning area in the Leeward Islands tonight, and the initial rain bands could begin affecting the BVI as early as Thursday morning with more intense effects occurring when the eye of the storm passes over or near the BVI. Sea conditions will begin to deteriorate tonight. Rough seas in excess of 10 feet is expected and the Antigua Meteorological Service has already issued a marine warning for mariners, small craft operators and sea bathers.