Tropical Storm Erika’s track shifted to the west overnight, meaning that the storm is likely to make landfall in Florida before making its way north, possibly to Georgia, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The track the center posted at 5 a.m. Friday shows Erika crossing over Hispaniola — the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic — and passing near Cuba and the Bahamas before taking aim at the southern tip of Florida.
This means the storm would have to interact with much more land before it reached Georgia and would therefore be a tropical storm or weaker by the time it reached the Peach State. Also, using this path, the storm would not impact Georgia until Wednesday at the earliest.
That track is by no means a guarantee, however, as the cone of uncertainty shows Erika’s possible path taking it as far west as the Florida Panhandle before making U.S. landfall and as far east as the northern Bahamas before making landfall in South Carolina or farther north.
As of 8 a.m. Friday, Tropical Storm Erika was about 90 miles east-southeast of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and about 385 miles southeast of Great Inagua Island in the southern Bahamas, or about 1,186 miles southeast of Hinesville.
The storm did strengthen slightly overnight, with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph, and is moving to the west-northwest at 17 mph.
Erika already has become a deadly storm. According to The Associated Press, four people were killed because of the storm as it caused flooding in Dominica, and 20 more were missing. Puerto Rico was affected by heavy rain and wind early Friday
You can track the storm at www.nhc.noaa.gov. The National Hurricane Center posts updates on Erika’s latest condition, position and track at 5 and 11 a.m. and 5 and 11 p.m., with intermediate advisories at 2 and 8 a.m. and 2 and 8 p.m.
Check back with coastalcourier.com for updates as they are warranted.