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Storm Erika Likely to Weaken or Collapse Saturday

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Storm Erika Likely to Weaken or Collapse Saturday

“Erika is forecast to weaken to a tropical depression on Saturday,” Jack Beven, a senior hurricane specialist at the center in Miami, wrote in a forecast. “Erika could dissipate to a trough of low pressure during or after its passage over Hispaniola.”

It looks as if this may be an uneventful hurricane season for Florida after all? We should know by next week!

Erika Sat Update

Bloomberg reports: Tropical Storm Erika, which killed at least 20 people on the Caribbean island of Dominica, weakened and is forecast to fall to a tropical depression Saturday or dissipate as it crosses the mountains of Hispaniola, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Erika, which is bringing rains and gusty winds to the Dominican Republic, was about 25 miles (40 kilometers) southeast of Port Au Prince, Haiti, with top winds of 45 miles per hour, the Miami-based center said in an advisory at 8 p.m. New York time. Its winds were forecast to drop below storm strength, and it was losing its structure.

“Erika is forecast to weaken to a tropical depression on Saturday,” Jack Beven, a senior hurricane specialist at the center in Miami, wrote in a forecast. “Erika could dissipate to a trough of low pressure during or after its passage over Hispaniola.”

Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said 20 people died in the storm, the Associated Press reported.

The threat of the system prompted Florida Governor Rick Scott to declare a statewide emergency and prepare the National Guard for action. Orange juice futures had their biggest three-day advance in 11 weeks.

Federal Emergency Management Agency teams have been dispatched to Puerto Rico and St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which were struck on Friday, and are preparing to respond in Florida if needed, said Josh Earnest, a White House spokesman.

Florida Watching

“We cannot afford to be complacent,” Scott said in a statement. “Every Floridian must have a game plan if they need to evacuate or help a family member evacuate the path of the storm.”

Wind forecasts for Erika show it dropping below the 39 mph threshold it needs to remain a tropical storm. It could regain tropical storm strength Sunday
before nearing Florida on Monday, the center said.

The biggest threat to Florida will likely be flooding, said Todd Crawford, a meteorologist with WSI in Andover, Massachusetts.

“I think she will emerge up near the west coast of Florida and sort of stall out as a big rainstorm,” Crawford said. “Not as anything particularly interesting, just a big blob of rain.”

The rain may help southern Florida, said Dan Kottlowski, a meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. The southern tip of Florida is gripped by extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“This will certainly help out in the Everglades,” Kottlowski said.

Flooding Rains

Erika, the fifth named storm of the six-month Atlantic season, has brought flooding rains to the Caribbean. It was forecast to drop from 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 centimeters) of rain across the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the center said.

Some areas may get 10 inches from Erika. High winds and rain are also forecast to reach the Turks and Caicos, as well as the central and northwestern Bahamas through the weekend.

The hurricane center is also watching another potential storm about to move off the coast of Africa. Kottlowski said if this develops it will most likely curve north into the mid-Atlantic Ocean.

In the Pacific, Hawaii is forecast to have hurricanes to its east and west through next week.

Forecasters are watching Hurricane Ignacio with top winds of 90 mph that is now 785 miles east-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii. The storm’s forecast track is to miss the island state just to the east starting Monday.

Tropical Storm Kilo is forecast to reach hurricane strength and pass Hawaii to the west.

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