5PM Update from the National Hurricane Center (No longer a threat to Montserrat and the Leeward Islands.)
The center of Tropical Storm Erika is now south of the Dominican Republic, about 65 miles south-southeast of Santo Domingo. Erika is moving toward the west-northwest near 18 mph and this general motion is expected to continue for the next 48 hours. On the forecast track, the center of Erika will move over the Dominican Republic this afternoon, near the Turks and Caicos Islands tonight, and near the central and northwestern Bahamas Saturday and Saturday night.
A Tropical Storm Warning continues for Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the Southeast and Central Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the Northwestern Bahamas, and for the Cuban Provinces of Ciego de Avila, Camaguey, Las Tunas, Holguin, and Guantanamo. Interests elsewhere in eastern and central Cuba, as well as the southern Florida Peninsula and Florida Keys, should monitor the progress of Erika.
Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph. Some weakening is forecast this afternoon and tonight as Erika moves over land, followed by little change in strength through Saturday night.
Erika is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 3 to 6 inches with maximum amounts of 10 inches possible across portions of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the southeastern and central Bahamas through Saturday. An additional 1 to 2 inches is expected for Puerto Rico. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.
Get the latest on this tropical cyclone by visiting the NHC website at www.hurricanes.gov