Tropical Storm Erika Moves Closer to Florida

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Courtesy of Bay News 9 weather Josh Linker, Bay News 9 Meteorologist

Several islands remain under a Tropical Storm Watch as Tropical Storm Erika maintains its strength and gets closer to the Caribbean.

At 11 a.m., the season’s fifth named storm was located about 285 miles east-southeast of Antigua. It was moving west at 17 mph with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.

Any potential impact on Florida would happen early next week. The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Tallahassee has been partially activated.

The storm hasn’t changed much since Tuesday night. It is still encountering wind shear from the west. That wind shear will remain for the next two to three days.

As a result, short-term strengthening is not expected. After that, there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty. The computer models range from Erika completely dissipating on Day 3 and sending a blob of moisture across south and central Florida to becoming a hurricane east of the Bahamas moving northward.

The track forecast shown is basically an average of the more reliable computer models. The cone is NOT a forecast, but simply a graphical representation of historical error. So over the last 10 years, the average error at five days is 240 miles.

That means the cone will be a circle surrounding each point with a radius of 240 miles. With all of that said, unfortunately, we won’t really have a good idea of Erika’s future until we get beyond Friday.

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

Hurricane hunters have found that tropical force winds extend outward up to 105 miles to the east of the storm’s center.
Erika will move west to west-northwestward. Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the Leeward Islands tonight, and then the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Thursday.

Location at 11 a.m. Wednesday: 16.1 N, 57.6 W

  • How far is it?
    • 385 miles east-southeast of Antigua
    • 1,800 miles southeast of Tampa
  • Winds: 45 mph
  • Movement: W at 17 mph
  • Pressure: 1,005 mb / 29.68 inches

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Fort Meade Florida – As for the Fort Meade area, local officials are warning residents to not take any storm no matter what the category lightly. The Fire Department is urging all residents to make sure that they have the essentials that are needed in a hurricane such as flashlights, water, food, and important papers. If you are a special needs resident in the Fort Meade area, it is recommended that you make arrangements prior to the storm hitting the area. If you need assistance, forms can be found at city hall for special needs residents. Please make sure these are filled out and turned in as soon as possible so that officials can make sure that you are on the list of those in need.

Residents that are in need of sandbags should stay tuned as an announcement concerning the location of those will be released as soon as they become available.

Residents are also urged to take shelter when warnings go up and not wait until the last minute. Once winds reach a certain point, rescue personnel are unable to attend to residents until after the storm has passed.

Stay tuned to Fort Meade Daily News for breaking news and updates relevant to our area as the storm approaches.

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