BLOG: Watching Erika

BLOG: Watching Erika

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Over the weekend Hurricane Danny – the first of the season – met a quick demise when it encountered dry air and intense wind shear.  When it comes to tropical meteorology, those are two parameters hard to overcome.

Today, we're tracking our latest tropical storm, Erika, which formed earlier this week just behind the westward moving Danny.

Erika is moving west as well, but unlike Danny, which quickly, but briefly ramped up to major hurricane classification, Erika is more likely to be slow in any strengthening - at least in the near term.

Beyond 48-72 hours, if Erika can survive some dry air and shear along the way, intensification – perhaps in quick fashion – is likely north of the Bahamas.

Here's the position this morning:

Erika is being pushed west now under the influence of a huge ridge of high pressure centered over the open waters of the middle Atlantic.

Over time, in some shape or form, the storm is likely to be directed northwest and then eventually north – early next week – around that ridge and a weakness in a trough over the eastern US (just inland from the coast).

The $100,000 question – as always – is where that turn takes place and how sharply.  In many ways, those questions once answered – will determine what, if any threat, Erika will be to the Southeast US and the Carolina Coast.

It's really early in the game, and much is likely to change, so too much stock in any one long-range model is often folly.  But it is important to note that some of the more reliable 5 to 7 day models, including the European (click here to see) -  have Erika as a very healthy hurricane off the FL/GA coast during the middle part of next week, in an area where there's low wind shear and very warm water likely to be present.

So many things can and will likely change over the next week, but there's no doubt, Erika bears watching.

Keep up with our updated forecast on WBTV, and search "WBTV" in the App Store to download our new hurricane tracker to your mobile device.

- Al Conklin

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