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Rain Here, Watching Erika

By Donna Thomas, SouthFloridaReporter.com Meteorologist, Aug 26, 2015 – 
South Florida will have plenty of rain on Wednesday and through the workweek, but the big story will be the track and strength of Tropical Storm Erika. Our Wednesday started with early showers, and we’ll see plenty of afternoon storms along with highs in the low 90s.image5

The rainy pattern will last into Thursday and Friday, and highs will again be in the low 90s. Saturday looks to be a bit less rainy with highs in the low 90s, but our weekend weather, especially Sunday, will depend on Erika.

Tropical Storm Erika continues to move westward, but a more west-northwestward turn is expected. At 5 am Wednesday, Erika was located near 16.1 North, 56.0 West and was moving west at 18 miles per hour. Maximum sustained winds were 40 miles per hour, but Erika did look better organized on satellite images early Wednesday. Erika will battle wind shear and dry air as it approaches the Leeward Islands on Wednesday into Thursday, then moves near or over Puerto Rico late Thursday. Just how much Erika is affected by both Puerto Rico and Hispaniola is uncertain, and the computer models diverge greatly on Erika’s track and intensity from Friday onward. South Florida is in the 5-day “cone,” and at this point, Erika would be expected to make its closest approach to South Florida late on Sunday into Monday. We all need to watch Erika closely and be ready to implement our own hurricane plans if necessary.

Donna Thomas has studied hurricanes for two decades. She holds a PhD in history when her experience with Hurricane Andrew ultimately led her to earn a degree in broadcast meteorology from Mississippi State University. Donna spent 15 years at WFOR-TV (CBS4 in Miami-Fort Lauderdale), where she worked as a weather producer with hurricane experts Bryan Norcross and David Bernard. She also produced hurricane specials and weather-related features and news coverage, as well as serving as pool TV producer at the National Hurricane Center during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Donna also served as a researcher on NOAA's Atlantic Hurricane Database Reanalysis Project. Donna specializes in Florida's hurricane history.