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Tropical Storm Erika Shifts East; Forecasters Warn Florida Could Still Be Hit by Hurricane

Tropical Storm Erika wobbled a little last night, and the latest computer models have the storm tracking more east than on Wednesday. Florida remains in the "cone of uncertainty" even as Erika remains a tad disorganized. Even with computer models shifting more easterly, however, Thursday's 11 a.m. advisory shows that it's going to be a close call with South Florida and what will very likely be Hurricane Erika. 

Bottom line: It's looking more and more like South Florida is either going to be hit by a Category 1 hurricane or very narrowly escape being hit by one.

Again, it all depends on what happens after it passes over the Bahamas.

On Wednesday morning, most computer models had Erika landing right on Florida. But since then, the models have shifted east, as seen in the Thursday 11 a.m. advisory.

Erika is also expected to get hit with some wind shear as she passes over Puerto Rico and into the Bahamas on her way toward Florida. One of the scenarios from forecasters shows upper-level steering patterns pushing Erika more easterly after it comes through the Bahamas over the weekend.

This scenario still has Florida within the cone, but not as directly as Wednesday's forecast.

According to the National Hurricane Center, once Erika moves closer to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Thursday night, the storm will hit warm waters as it makes its way toward the Bahamas and likely become a Category 1 hurricane. 

Forecasters will then keep an eye on what happens to the storm's strength and structure once it's in the Bahamas. 
At the very least, we'll likely be getting hit by some seriously wet and sloppy weather come Sunday and Monday.

For now, Erika has been barreling down and dumping rain on the Leeward Islands as it makes its way to Puerto Rico. Flash flooding on the island of Dominica in the Lesser Antilles has already been reported, and Erika might already be responsible for some deaths

At the moment, Erika is still moving at 16 mph, with winds topping out at 50 mph. 
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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph

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