01 September 2009

Erika finally forms in central Atlantic...

Since leaving the African coast one week ago, this easterly wave has remained intact, but struggled with shear.  Today, an aircraft reconnaissance flight revealed a closed circulation with 45kt sustained winds at the surface and a 1007mb central pressure.  So, it was immediately upgraded to TS Erika.  It's heading WNW at 8kts, and is located about 400 miles east of the Leeward Islands.  A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for the northern Leeward Islands.

The official forecast is for gradual strengthening, but not quite reaching hurricane intensity, and to continue heading WNW.  By Friday, it should be just north of Puerto Rico... and in the longer term, this is a storm that the US east coast should be keeping an eye on.  A majority of forecast models bring Erika up to CAT1-2 intensity by the weekend.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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