August 29, 2015


Erika fizzles, Florida braces for heavy rain

By IRENE NOLAN

 

The National Hurricane Center issued its last advisory on Tropical Storm Erika at 9:30 this morning, but left the door open to the possibility that the storm might regenerate over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.

Erika, a struggling storm for days now, was battered by wind shear, dry air, and finally the mountains of Hispaniola overnight.  At 9:30 this morning, the center of the storm was located just off the northeastern coast of Cuba, moving west-northwest at 22 mph with winds of 35 mph.

Before it finally succumbed to unfavorable conditions, Erika dropped torrential rains on the Caribbean islands, especially Dominica, where at least 20 deaths have been reported.

This morning, the Hurricane Center dropped all tropical storm watches and warnings, but warned of continued heavy rains and gusty winds over Cuba and the Bahamas today and heavy rains spreading over the Florida peninsula by tomorrow.

Forecasters said the remnants of Erika will continue to move west-northwest and reach the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, when the stormy weather will turn more to the north.

"Upper-level winds are currently not favorable for re-development of the system into a tropical cyclone," the Hurricane Center said this afternoon. "However, conditions may become more conducive Sunday or Monday while it moves northwestward to northward over the eastern Gulf of Mexico."

The Hurricane Center is giving Erika's remnants a 30 percent chance of redevelopment over the next two days and a 40 percent chance over five days.

Meanwhile, forecasters are watching a tropical wave coming off the west coast of Africa with plenty of spin and heavy thunderstorms. The Hurricane Center gives this area a 70 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression over the next two days and a 90 percent chance over five days.

If it does develop, this area of stormy weather is expected to move northwest toward the Cape Verde Islands and then into the open Atlantic ocean
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