First hurricane for Florida since Wilma ten years ago

Tropical Storm Erika was around 390 nautical miles east of Antigua on Wednesday morning and is moving west at around 18mph. The storm is expected to track close to Puerto Rico and the Lesser Antilles  on Thursday and then towards the Bahamas or South Florida by the end of the weekend, by which time Erika will probably have developed into a Hurricane.

The official guidance from Miami is for Erika to gradually strengthen to a category 1 hurricane by the start of next week. Erika will be the second hurricane of the 2015 season. Hurricane Wilma, in October 2005, was the most intense hurricane recorded in the North Atlantic, with an estimated central pressure of 882 mb.

Image courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Image courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

As well as potentially damaging winds, Erika is likely to produce very heavy rainfall and a modest storm surge.

When Erika passes over the Lesser Antilles on Thursday there is expected to be 120mm of rainfall in 24 hours, but as Erika deepens near to the Bahamas and South Florida, totals of up to 400mm in 24 hours could occur, although there is some uncertainty in the exact location and intensity of Erika at this stage.

It is 10 years since Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Florida. It was the most costly hurricane on record causing an estimated $108 billion in damage in Louisiana and Mississippi. It also caused an estimated 1500 deaths. The strongest winds  were recorded during 25-30 August 2005  and were over the coastal areas of Louisiana and Florida.

No major (cat 3 or above) hurricane has made landfall on the USA since Wilma in October 2005. As for cat 1/2 hurricanes over the USA, Arthur just made landfall in 2014 (glancing blow to N Carolina) and in 2012 Isaac made landfall over New Orleans.  Although technically not a hurricane, Sandy had hurricane force winds at landfall over New Jersey. Other US hurricane landfalls since 2005 have been Irene in 2011, Dolly, Gustav and Ike in 2008 and Humberto in 2007.

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3 Responses to First hurricane for Florida since Wilma ten years ago

  1. jbenton2013 says:

    So despite the Met Office’s desperation to talk up Erika to hurricane status it appears the weather gods have failed to cooperate, and the tropical storm has quietened to a whimper.

  2. Billy Liar says:

    Tropical Storm Erika (according to Wikipedia):

    By the time the storm got to Hispaniola, Erika was poorly organized and the center of circulation had been periodically exposed, due to the storm battling extreme dry air and moderate wind shear. On the 11:00 advisory from the National Hurricane Center, it had been announced the proceeding Hurricane Hunters flight barely found a closed circulation. The final advisory from the NHC was the 2:00 one, and it was determined Erika degenerated into a trough sometime between the two advisories. Erika’s remnants dodged Cuba to the north and produced torrential rain in Florida.


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