The National Weather Service has reported that Tropical Storm Erika is “wobbling” its way toward the Bahamas. We know what you’re thinking: storms don’t wobble, so that can’t be good. And you’d be right. Forecasters are perplexed by the trajectory of this particular storm because she just isn’t behaving the way most tropical storms historically have in the that part of the world. Erika is expected to hit landfall in the Bahamas this weekend, and may be headed for Florida early next week – but if this wobbling continues, all that could change.
Late yesterday afternoon, the weather service estimated that Erika would reach Florida on Monday night or early Tuesday morning, possibly as a Category 1 hurricane. This morning, Florida’s Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in preparation for the storm’s arrival on the state’s southeastern coast. It has been 10 years since Florida last faced a major hurricane, which was Hurricane Wilma in 2005. That storm began as the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin. With Erika picking up strength, forecasters are suggesting this could be the one to break the calm. Currently a tropical storm, Erika has already caused at least 12 deaths in Dominica, where the storm dumped 12 inches of water in as many hours.
Government leaders as far north as South Carolina are already bracing for stormweather, since tropical storms and hurricanes that make landfall in Florida tend to take a tour straight up the coast from the Sunshine State. Those storms, even after devolving into a lower class weather system, still carry tons of wind and rain, which often lead to power outages and flooding.
Meanwhile, the weather service is watching the eye of the storm closely. That’s the part that has been “wobbling,” which started early Thursday. In meteorological terms, this means the center of the storm, which largely controls the trajectory over time, may be unstable.
Most people living in hurricane-plagued areas know there are only a few things you can do in the days before a storm like this is expected to hit: collect supplies and water, wait, and watch.
Via NBC News
Images via National Weather Service/NOAA