Poorly organized Erika expected to impact Florida - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Poorly organized Erika expected to impact Florida

On Saturday morning, the National Hurricane Center said that Erika appeared to be dissipating. On Saturday morning, the National Hurricane Center said that Erika appeared to be dissipating.
On Saturday morning, Erika was expected to move into the eastern Gulf of Mexico early next week. On Saturday morning, Erika was expected to move into the eastern Gulf of Mexico early next week.

On Saturday morning, poorly-organized Tropical Storm Erika was moving to the west-northwest near southeast Cuba.

"On satellite, the storm is not looking very organized at all," commented WLOX Meteorologist Wesley Williams. "The barometric pressure on Erika has increased slightly, which is a sure sign of weakening."

Erika is expected to weaken to a tropical depression this weekend as it moves over Cuba before it has a chance to strengthen back to a tropical storm near the Florida Keys. Impacts from Erika are expected along portions of Florida beginning early next week.

The tropical storm had max winds of 40 mph on Saturday morning, which is about the same as it has been over the last four days.

Although the governor of Florida has declared a state of emergency, the National Hurricane Center has issued no tropical storm watches or warnings for Florida. 

"Although this would normally be an appropriate time for a tropical storm watch for portions of southern Florida following typical timelines, we have elected to wait until later today to see if the circulation of Erika has survived its interaction with Hispaniola," stated the Saturday morning update from the NHC. "An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft will be investigating Erika later this morning. There is a significant chance that no watches or warnings for Florida will be required."

The official NHC forecast track for Erika has shifted slightly westward over the last 24 hours, with the storm expected to enter the eastern Gulf of Mexico during early next week. "If Erika enters the Gulf, it would have a chance to intensify due to more tropical-storm-friendly conditions there," said Williams. "Worst-case-scenario appears that it would become a slightly stronger tropical storm before making landfall somewhere near the Big Bend of Florida west toward the Florida panhandle."

Erika is forecast to keep a northerly motion from the Florida panhandle through the middle of next week toward Georgia before dissipating over land. "The important thing for the Mississippi Gulf Coast and points west of that: there is very strong wind shear due to an upper-level trough of low pressure over the north-central Gulf Coast from the western Florida panhandle to Louisiana," said Williams. "What that means for us is that even in an unthinkable and unexpected worst-case-scenario of Erika's track shifting even more westward or northwestward, that storm would be literally ripped apart due to those unfavorable conditions. At this time, no impacts from Erika are expected along the MS Gulf Coast."

The main threat with Erika will be rain, not wind. Parts of Florida will pick up three to six inches of rain from Erika through the middle of next week.

The WLOX Weather Team will inform you of South Mississippi's forecast on-air, online, and using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter.

You can like us on Facebook: Carrie Duncan WLOX MeteorologistMeteorologist Wesley WilliamsTommy Richards, and Meteorologist Andrew Wilson.

And follow us on Twitter: @carrieduncanwx@WesWilliamsii@TommyWLOX@AndrewWilsonWX

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