Leeward Islands brace for Tropical Storm Erika
MIAMI, USA -- The Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico on Wednesday prepared for the imminent arrival of Tropical Storm Erika, which was expected to move near or over portions of the Leeward Islands on Wednesday night, move near the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Thursday, and be near or just north of the north coast of the Dominican Republic on Friday.
According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, at 2:00 pm EDT on Wednesday, the centre of Tropical Storm Erika was located about 245 miles (395 km) east-southeast of Antigua, moving toward the west at 17 mph (28 km/h). A west to west-northwestward motion at a slightly slower forward speed is expected over the next 48 hours.
Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph (75 km/h), with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 km) from the centre.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for Anguilla, Saba, St Eustatius, St Maarten, Guadeloupe, St Martin and St Barthelemy, Montserrat, Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, US Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for Guadeloupe.
A tropical storm alert was in effect for the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas islands of Inagua, Mayaguana, Acklins, Crooked Island and Ragged Island. Interests in the Dominican Republic should monitor the progress of Erika.
Tropical storm conditions were expected to first reach the warning area in the Leeward Islands on Wednesday night, and reach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Thursday. Tropical storm conditions are possible in the watch area on Wednesday night and early Thursday. Tropical storm conditions could reach portions of the Dominican Republic on Friday.
Erika is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 3 to 5 inches with maximum amounts of 8 inches across portions of the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico through Friday morning.
US Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp urged residents who live low-lying or flood-prone areas to seek refuge at a shelter for the duration of the storm. First responders will not attempt rescue operations in the midst of a tropical storm force winds, he stated.