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Erika could head towards the Carolinas

Posted at 5:49 AM, Aug 27, 2015

RICHMOND, Va -- Tropical Storm Erika gained some strength early Thursday morning with maximum sustained winds increasing to 50 mph.  The storm continues to move west of the Leeward Islands.  It will move through Puerto Rico Thursday evening into Friday morning.

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The forecast track will take the center over parts of the Dominican Republic, and then head towards the Bahamas this weekend.  After that point, the track is still uncertain, but computer model runs over the past 24 hours have been shifting the track of the storm more northward.   The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center has the storm moving parallel to the Florida coast early next week.  As the storm moves over the Gulf Stream, it may strengthen into a hurricane near Florida.

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As the storm moves over the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream, it may strengthen into a hurricane near Florida.

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The spaghetti plot of computer models includes more models bringing the storm up closer to the Carolinas.  If this trend continues, the National Hurricane Center's official forecast may adjust the track forecast northward.  The models are fairly consistent through the Bahamas, but after that point, they diverge quite a bit, ranging from the Gulf of Mexico to the Carolinas.

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This storm definitely bears watching over the next week.  A lot can still can change, so don't get locked into the forecast path just yet.  More information can be found in the CBS 6 Hurricane Tracker and the CBS 6 Weather Authority App.