Thursday, August 27, 2015

From the Town of Palm Beach: TS Erika-Alert Level 3

Alert Level 3 (out of 5): MODERATE: Awareness & Action (Potential implementation of Disaster Preparedness Plans) 

12:00 pm EST, Thursday, August 27th, 2015 

Tropical Storm Erika's severe thunderstorm activity almost completely deteriorated late yesterday afternoon as it faced dried air and increased wind shear.  Overnight, as the upper level winds decreased, it began to re-intensify.  It is still a storm battling strong winds and dry air and does not have a defined center, which is making model predictions extremely inaccurate at this time.  Current recon data and reports are that the center of the storm is continuing west and south outside of even the recent model predictions of a more northwesterly path.  This means a greater chance for interaction with the islands of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, which would likely assist in degrading the storm.  The next 48 hours are critical to the path and intensity of the storm.  NOAA reminds us that the average NHC track forecast errors over the past 5 years are 180 miles at day 4 and 240 miles at day 5, so the room for error is still large and bears close watching as we move forward and the prediction data becomes clearer. 


Storm Name: Erika 
Status: Tropical Storm 
Location: (16.4 N, 63.3 W) Approximately 85 miles West of the island of Guadeloupe 
Maximum Sustained Winds (“MSW”): 50 mph 
Movement: West @ 16 mph 
Pressure: 1004 MB 
Tropical Storm Erika: Potential Interaction with FL (“PIF”): 
PIF1 - Next 1-2 Days: 0% 
PIF3 - Next 3-4 Days: 20% 
PIF5 - Next 5-7 Days: 50% (Potential Tropical Wave/Tropical Storm/Hurricane) 

*Potential Interaction with FL (“PIF”) estimates are designed to help the reader determine the potential for the storm’s interaction with Florida based upon data available at the time of the alert. “Interaction with Florida” means that a significant portion of the storm may impact Florida and does not indicate the intensity of the impact. This information is to be used for informational purposes only. 

A lot has happened since yesterday with regard to Tropical Storm Erika: 
· Erika is maintaining 40-50 mph sustained winds and is drenching Dominica with up to 8 inches of rain.  
· Erika is not following model predictions for current path and has already reorganized more to the west and south than most models predicted.  
· Erika following a more westerly path increases the chance that it will have more interaction with the island of Puerto Rico and the island of Hispaniola (Dominican Republic/Haiti) as it moves west through the Caribbean.  
· The next 48 hours are critical to Erika's existence and path.  Should Erika follow the more southerly path and interact with the islands, it may dissipate and not pose a threat to Florida.  Should Erika move more to the northwest, it will likely miss those islands and may be able to fight off the wind shear and dry air until it reaches an area of less shear and more moisture on Saturday and Sunday.  If this happens, the storm can intensify into a Hurricane and potentially begin affecting Florida on Monday.