At 5 a.m. the storm center was located some 240 miles southeast of the Virgin Islands near 16.8 degrees North, 61.5 degrees West. The storm is packing increased winds of 50 miles per hour with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast today. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 105 miles mainly to the north and east of the center. The storm is moving to the west at 16 miles per hour and a turn to the west-northwest is expected later today.
According to the National Weather Service, based on latest forecast models, marine conditions will start deteriorating this morning. The first rain bands are reaching the area already this morning across the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, the showers will become more frequent and winds will become gusty as the day progresses. The more significant rainfall is expected overnight Thursday to Friday.
The center of circulation of the storm is forecast to be just northeast of the US Virgin Islands at around 8 p.m. tonight. Erika is a disorganized tropical storm.
WIND: Tropical storm conditions are expected to spread across the warning area in the Leeward Islands this morning, and reach the Virgin Islands later today and Puerto Rico tonight.
Sustained tropical storm force winds will begin to impact the Virgin Islands around 6 p.m. with St. Croix forecast to experience winds of 39 miles per hour. The highest sustained winds on the island will occur at 7 p.m. when wind speeds are expected to reach 45 miles per hour. On St. John, 58 miles per hour sustained winds will occur from 7 to 9 p.m. and 39 miles per hour winds will continue until 2 a.m. Friday. On St. Thomas the 58 miles per hour sustained winds will also arrive at 7 p.m. and continue for two hours. 39 miles per hour winds will continue until 3 a.m. Friday.
RAINFALL: Erika is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 3 to 5 inches with maximum amounts of 8 inches.
An intermediate advisory will be issued at 8 a.m. followed by the next complete advisory at 11 a.m.