Tropical Storm Erika is Born in Atlantic, Threatens Leeward Islands at Midweek
As Tropical Rainstorm Danny tracks across the northern Caribbean islands, Erika will take a track slightly farther north and will bring another round of rainfall.
This system will be steered westward by a large dome of high pressure across the Atlantic during much of this week.
"This high is expected to guide Erika on a west-northwest course through Thursday," said AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
Erika is located about 730 miles east of the Leeward Islands.
"Erika will be moving through an environment with warm waters and generally low wind shear," AccuWeather Meteorologist Robert Richards said.
Tropical systems are most likely to strengthen in areas of weak wind shear. If wind shear is too strong, the system becomes disorganized and weakens.
"Wind shear is when strong winds near the surface and aloft blow strongly from different directions," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.
Danny thrived late last week in a zone of low wind shear. Once it moved into an area of increasing wind shear near the Leeward Islands, the system weakened rapidly.
While Erika is forecast to strengthen over the next several days, wind shear may again cause it to weaken or prevent any further strengthening late this week and into the weekend. A track into the northern islands of the Caribbean would bring another dose of needed rainfall.
Erika is predicted to move across the northern Caribbean as a strong tropical storm, but it could be as strong as a minimal Category 1 hurricane this weekend.
According to Kottlowski, the exact path this weekend into next week is uncertain at this time.
"All interests in the northeast Caribbean, Bahamas, Florida and the Southeast United States should closely monitor the progression of this system," Kottlowski said.