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Tropical Storm Erika approaching BVI

LOCATION…16.6N 58.9W

ABOUT 377 MILES EAST SOUTH EAST OF THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…45 MPH…75 KM/H

PRESENT MOVEMENT…W OR 280 DEGREES AT 17 MPH…28 KM/H

MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…1005 MB…29.68 INCHES

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A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for the British Virgin Islands as Tropical Storm Erika approaches.

A Tropical Storm Warning means that sustained winds of 39 to 73 miles per hour (mph) are expected somewhere within the specified area within 36 hours in association with a tropical cyclone.
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). 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 move near or over portions of the Leeward Islands tonight, move near the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Thursday, and be near or just north of the north coast of the Dominican Republic on Friday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph (75 km/h) with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours.
Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 km)primarily to the east of the center.
The latest minimum central pressure estimated from data from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft is 1005 mb (29.68 inches).

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According to NOAA forecaster Brown “Erika is forecast to move through an area of moderate to strong westerly shear during the next two to three days. Although the NHC intensity forecast during that time shows no change in intensity, weakening is possible during the next couple of days. In fact, Erika could degenerate into a trough of low pressure due to the shear and interaction with the Greater Antilles.

“After 72 hours, the upper-level environment is forecast to become more conducive for development and all of the guidance, including the global models, shows intensification.”

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HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND

WIND
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.

Tropical storm conditions could reach portions of the Dominican Republic, the southeastern Bahamas, and Turks and Caicos Islands on Friday.

RAINFALL
Erika could produce total rainfall accumulations of 1 to 3 inches across portions of the Leeward and the British Virgin Islands. Residents are advised of the possibility of flash flooding in flood prone and low lying areas. Interests in the leeward and British Virgin Islands should continue monitoring the progress of Erika and execute plans to protect life and property.

MARINE CONDITIONS
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. Securing of vessels should be done today as the sea conditions may not permit for such actions in the morning.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* Anguilla
* Saba and St. Eustatius
* St. Maarten
* St. Martin
* St. Barthelemy
* Montserrat
* Antigua and Barbuda
* St. Kitts and Nevis
* Puerto Rico
* Vieques
* Culebra
* U.S. Virgin Islands
* British Virgin Islands

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…
* Guadeloupe
* North coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to Cabo
Frances Viejo
* Southeastern Bahamas
* Turks and Caicos Islands

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

Interests elsewhere in the Dominican Republic should monitor the progress of Erika.