Saturday, August 29, 2015

Tropical Storm Erika Is Kaput; Done In By Mountains, Upper Level Winds

Tropical Storm Erika, which earlier this week represented a real threat to become the potential first full-fledged hurricane to hit Florida in ten years, instead fell apart earlier this morning.

Since its inception, Erika battled shear, which is defined as strong upper level winds that tear apart the thunderstorms that make up the center of a tropical storm. Dry air also got pulled into the system, which further hurt Erika's chances of developing.
What finally finished her off were the mountains of Hispaniola, the island that contains the nation of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Tropical storms and hurricanes weaken when they reach land, especially if those lands are mountainous.

Erika was originally forecast to skirt by Hispaniola, stay over water and potentially strengthen, but it hit land instead.

Erika will still be remembered as a terrible storm that caused a flood on the island of Dominica, killing at least 20 people.

The remnants of Erika are still VERY wet and still headed toward Florida. So while Florida won't get a hurricane, there could still be some flooding in that neck of the woods early next week.

On the bright side, the remains of Erika will probably dump fairly heavy rain on South Florida, which has been in a drought.

Florida's governor had declared a state of emergency in anticipation of Erika. He'll probably be criticized for "needlessly" putting state resources into hurricane preparation.

But, better safe than sorry. Florida would have been really screwed had they not begun preparing, and then Erika hit hard. I hope Florida residents don't get complacent.

The next time there is a state of emergency in Florida because of a predicted hurricane, and there WILL be such an occasion, let's hope people take it seriously.

I suppose Erika could regenerate after its remnants get north of Cuba and into the warm southeastern Gulf of Mexico waters. That's somewhat unlikely but possible. Stay tuned!!!!

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