Erika Strengthens; Workers Ordered to Stay Home in Antigua

August 27, 2015




ST JOHN’S, Antigua – At 5 a.m. Thursday, Erika was located about 30 miles east, southeast of Antigua with sustained winds of 50 mph, slightly stronger early Thursday. The storm was moving west at 16 mph.

The track has shifted slightly to the east.

Over the next two days, Erika is expected to sweep past the Leeward Islands and head toward Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, but what happens after that is less clear. On Wednesday evening, National Hurricane Center forecasters said the storm was “poorly organised” as it encountered the same dry air and high winds that helped weaken Danny. If Erika makes it past the eastern edge of the Greater Antilles, forecasters say the storm could reorganise in more hurricane-friendly territory near the Bahamas.

Across the Caribbean, governments ordered schools, airports and even casinos shut in advance of the storm. Forecasters say Erika could dump three to five inches of rain, with some parts of the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic receiving as much as eight inches through Friday.

All airports in the U.S. Virgin Islands are closed to incoming flights until Friday while airlines based in Puerto Rico and Antigua also canceled flights.

On Thursday morning, forecasters maintained tropical storm warnings for Anguilla, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Montserrat, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. Tropical storm watches were issued for Guadeloupe, the north coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to Cabo Frances Viejo, the Southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

In Antigua, residents are being told not to go to work today as Tropical Storm Erika begins passing over the island.

Samantha Marshall is the Minister responsible for national disasters, and she made the announcement this morning.

“Based upon the information we’ve received this morning from the Met Office, we are advised to close business today, and so, we are asking for business owners, employees, government workers, they are not to report to work,” she said just after the 5 am update on Tropical Storm Erika was issued.

The Met Office said that, at that time, the lead portion of Erika was already affecting the south coast of the mainland, and as the storm was moving forward at 16 miles per hour, it could take up to 10 hours to pass Antigua and Barbuda.




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