Well today was a pretty good day for Erika…
If you are just tuning in now the next two weeks are all about Erika. Seriously, if tropical storm/hurricane Erika doesn’t affect us there will be basically no weather. The only thing that I am monitoring is a potential heat wave starting this weekend and persisting until the end of next week. Highs will be in the upper 80s to low 90s with humidity returning.
Now onto the big story tropical storm Erika.
I would first like to say that my heart goes out to the at least four people who died in Dominica after over a foot of rain fell in 12 hours. It just goes to show that there is no such thing as “just a tropical storm”
Judging from the amount of rainfall in the Leeward Islands Erika is packed with moisture despite being invaded by dry air. Puerto Rico is currently in a severe to extreme drought and while Erika will help the drought the heavy rainfall could cause more terrible flooding and landslides.
Here is the current satellite. As you can see there is a lot of new development around the center and Erika is looking pretty good. This morning I was concerned that if she track right over Hispaniola she could dissipate but that looks unlikely now. She is now shifting to a more northwesterly track instead of due west.
Here is my latest cone.
The curvy blue line in the middle is where I think the mostly track is. However, anywhere in the red cone is possible. As you can see Erika will continue to struggle as it moves through Puerto Rico and Hispaniola but once it gets to Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas that’s when it could really strengthen.
The models have been trending back and forth between a Carolina impact and a Florida impact. The stronger Erika is the more likely it will move to the east of Florida and the weaker it is the better chance of a Florida landfall. Because of this I don’t see anything beyond a weak category 1 hurricane making landfall in Florida. Right now as you can see I am leaning towards a Carolina impact.
Above is my current threat level forecast. As you can see I have placed the southeast coast in the alert area because there will most likely be affected by Erika. If the models trend back west into Florida tomorrow I will put Florida's east coast in an action threat level. I have also added eastern New England and parts of the coverage area in an alert threat level. Including NYC.
If you are in the aware area check the weather daily for further developments. There is no need for panic just know that you could be affected by Erika. Things are a little more serious in the alert area. You should have a hurricane plan ready and know how to turn off gas and electricity in case of an evacuation. Also, check the weather at least once a day for any further developments.
The reason that I have placed the alert area further north is that some of the models showed something very interesting. The GFS, CMC and Naval models all showed at around noon a potential Northeast impact. The latest GFS shows a strong category 2 or a weak category 3 hurricane making landfall on the Georgia coastline. There may not be consistency yet but the afternoon models were still very interesting.
The latest run of the Euro was very disappointing. It showed Erika not strengthening at all over the Bahamas. It then takes it as a tropical storm into south Florida. This would actually be the best case scenario, the reason why I think it is disappointing is because it offered no insight. Conditions over the Bahamas are textbook perfect for development. Hot waters, low shear and a good amount of moisture. If Erika can slow down a bit she could easily bomb out.
The thing is that Erika is slowing down. Yesterday she was moving at 18 miles per hour and now she is moving at 15. This is where the high pressure ridge comes into play. The models are currently predicting that a strong high pressure ridge will form and persist all the way through Erikas development. This will significantly slow down Erika and potentially even stall her over the Bahamas. This high pressure ridge could also prevent Erika from going out to sea,
That's when things start to get scary. If Erika stalls over the Bahamas where the shear is low and the water is hot and she doesn't go out to sea we could be looking at something serious. Now it is still too early and the models are all over the place but still we need to watch Erika extremely closely. Bahamian storms have a history of being bad and always make me nervous.
Here are the latest models. Like I was saying the models are all over the place...
Luckily tonight's models that start coming out at midnight will be very interesting as some new data is coming in. Hopefully we can get some consensus.
Be sure to check out my twitter for all the latest information on Erika.