RICHMOND, Va. -- Sustained wind speeds Friday morning were around 50 mph as it neared the Dominican Republic. The meandering track over the past 24 hours has been a quirky one. For this reason, the forecast track from this point forward has been adjusted.
This new forecast track moves Erika over the Dominican Republic and Haiti Friday night into Saturday morning, which will prevent strengthening and even cause some weakening while it is over land. The storm will then pass near the Bahamas, and the center will move along the north coast of Cuba.
It looks like Erika may make landfall in southern Florida Sunday night into Monday morning. The current track moves the center between Key West and Miami as a tropical storm. The northeastern quadrant of a tropical system creates the highest impact to land, since counterclockwise winds are traveling over a mainly frictionless body of water, and then hitting land. Areas from Miami up through Vero Beach will see wind gusts in excess of 60 mph along with high waves.
The storm will weaken as it stays over Florida and it tracks northward. Even though wind speeds will decrease a bit, heavy amounts of rainfall will continue with totals of 4-7" possible with isolated 8-10" amounts.
The remnants may come far enough north to give us some rain towards late Thursday into Friday.
The spaghetti plot of all computer models has shifted westward than what was shown yesterday. Although the majority move Erika into Florida, some models are still showing a track east of Florida and more towards the Carolinas. However, a lot can still change over the next few days, so keep tabs on this storm through the weekend. Erika will be traveling through areas with wind shear, and this could greatly weaken the storm, more than has been projected.