Tropical Storm Erika moved across the Atlantic Ocean late Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm had sustained winds of 40 miles per hour as of 5 p.m. ET. It was located 605 miles east of the Leeward Islands.
It is gradually shifting towards west at a speed of 20 miles per hour.
Islands in the Caribbean – including Montserrat, Antigua, Barbuda, Guadeloupe and St. Kitts and Nevis – have been placed under tropical storm watches. A tropical storm watch means that there is a possibility of a storm developing in the watch area generally within 48 hours, the hurricane center said.
Erika, ‘a week tropical storm’
It will travel west-northwest toward the Leeward Islands by Wednesday before progressing towards Puerto Rico.
Developed late Monday night in the mid-Atlantic, it is expected to intensify into a Category 1 hurricane by Saturday as it inches near the Bahamas. Its next stop could be South Florida.
According to Local 10, Erika is “a weak tropical storm.”
Computer models that meteorologists use to explain weather patterns display different forecasts for Erika. While the first says it is abating, the other conveys the concern of it possibly advancing into a Category 4 hurricane near the coast of South Carolina by next week.
“All interests in the northeast Caribbean, Bahamas, Florida and the Southeast United States should closely monitor the progression of this system,” AccuWeather meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said.
“It’s moving pretty rapidly,” Tony Cristaldi, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Melbourne, said.
“No need to get overly anxious just yet, but we advise everyone to monitor it. And it’s always good to review your hurricane preparedness plan,” he further said.
Fifth named tropical system of 2015 Atlantic hurricane season
According to Florida Today, the storm could be obstructed as it moves towards Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, both of which are mountainous areas.
“(The mountains) can disrupt the circulation of the storm,” Cristaldi said.
More information regarding the storm could be revealed in the next five days, he said.
According to USA Today, Erika becomes the fifth named tropical system of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season. Of these, only Danny strengthened to become a hurricane.
It abated over the Caribbean islands on Monday. Dry air and upper-level winds caused the storm to subside.
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