Severe Weather

Rick Scott Declares State of Emergency as Tropical Storm Erika Approaches

While she's a sloppy and disorganized system, Erika is bringing torrential rain and wind with her when she passes over Florida in a few days, and that has prompted Gov. Rick Scott to declare a state of emergency for all of Florida.

"The National Guard is now partially activated and they have more than 8,000 personnel ready to mobilize," Scott says. "As of now, much of Florida is projected to be in the path of this storm. Everyone in our state, from South Florida to North Florida, should be closely watching this storm."

Scott also says that he's been in contact with FPL and, he says, the utility company has more than 7,200 workers ready to support power restoration efforts, including 1,700 who will begin arriving in Florida throughout the weekend as part of the utility industry’s mutual assistance network. FPL is also opening 16 staging sites for crews to work from. 

As for Erika's current status, the National Hurricane Center says the storm has been moving westward at 18 mph and is expected to move west-northwest this evening as it moves over the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Later tonight, Erika will move near the Turks and Caicos Islands, and then near the central and northwestern Bahamas on Saturday and Saturday night.

Since the storm is so disorganized, it's been tough to forecast. But the computer models are saying that once Erika crosses Hispaniola and Cuba on Friday night and Saturday, it's likely to weaken before reorganizing back into a tropical storm once it's over open waters.

The other possibility is that Erika could fail to organize altogether once it's hit with a combination of wind sheers and the mountains of Hispaniola which would reduce the impact she makes on Florida once it gets here on Monday.

As it has been since the storm has been monitored, there are multiple scenarios for Erika's exact track and the impact she'll have once it gets into our neck-of-the-woods. 

Most computer models have Erika shifting westward, as seen in the track image above. But, no matter what, Florida will definitely feel some kind of impact from Erika starting late Sunday into Monday morning.

Erika is expected to bring 3 to 6 inches of rain, and could even dump 10 inches across parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the southeastern and central Bahamas through the weekend, the National Hurricane Center says.

We'll keep you updated on Erika as more information becomes available.
KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph