Final Update: Tropical Storm Erika was downgraded to a tropical depression and posed no threat to Florida despite early forecast models that created alarm for the Sunshine State. Above average rainfall and a few isolated weather related power outages were the only significant changes to late August Florida weather conditions.
11 P.M.: Floridians have eyes on Tropical Storm Erika as it continues to move west by northwest, gradually increasing in strength. Erika may threaten South Florida as early as late Sunday or early Monday. According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm is 1,470 miles southeast of Cape Canaveral with winds of 40 mph, gusting upwards of 50 mph.
6 P.M.: Erika will move over the Leeward Islands tonight with little chanbe in wind speed over the next two days. Winds may increase to 75 miles per hour as she moves over Florida early Monday morning. Forecasters say it is too early to be definitive as to Erika’s effect on Florida and urge a “cautious view.”
“One should remember to not focus on the exact forecast track, especially at the long range where the average NHC track errors during the past 5 years are about 180 miles at day 4 and 240 miles at day 5,” the Hurricane Center posted.
The Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to Cabo Frances Viejo, southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands are now all under a Tropical Storm Watch.
Storm force winds, with maximum sustained speed of near 45 miles per hour are extending outward up to 105 miles primarily east of the storm’s center.