During the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season, this blog will focus on tropical systems that impact The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Islands.
By: BahaHurican, 10:43 AM GMT on August 25, 2015
For the second time in three days, the Southeast Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands are within the 5-day cone of a National Hurricane Centre forecast cone.
On Saturday, 22nd August, rapidly deteriorating Hurricane Danny was still expected to move into Bahamian waters. Slow-moving Danny, the 2015 season's first hurricane, peaked as a category three hurricane about xxx miles east of the Lesser Antilles on Friday 21st August. By Saturday, however, Danny was already weakening due to its interaction with southwesterly wind shear and dry air as it approached the Leeward Islands. Nevertheless Danny was still expected to impact Turks and Caicos, Inagua and possibly Mayaguana as a weak tropical storm or depression on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.
Hurricane Danny forecast for Saturday, 22nd August, 2015.
However, by Sunday afternoon Danny had degenerated into a remnant tropical wave, and watches, warnings and monitoring of the system by NHC were discontinued. At 5:30 a.m. EDT this morning, Danny's remnants were still bringing beneficial rain showers to the drought-stricken Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Danny remnants over the NE Caribbean on Tuesday 25 Aug.
This morning, however, residents of the Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas are facing another, potential more dangerous threat in the form of newly formed Tropical Storm Erika. Fast-moving Erika was designated as a tropical storm at 11 p.m. EDT on Monday, 24th August, and at that time the TCI, along with the central and southeastern Bahamas, were in the 5-day forecast cone.
NHC forecast track map for TS Erica at 5 a.m. EDT on Tuesday 25 August, 2015.
Erika is moving WNW at about 20 miles an hour, and at this speed is expected to be impacting the Islands by Saturday morning. Erika is a large system, and is expected to be a strengthening hurricane as it approaches the area. While the current forecast track suggests that the centre of then Hurricane Erika is likely to pass just to the east of the southern islands, most of the archipelago is still well within the probability cone, and islands such as San Salvador, Cat Island, and possibly Eleuthera are expected to be directly impacted.
The National Hurricane Centre currently describes both the track and intensity forecast at days 4 and 5 as "low-confidence", which means that Erika's forecast track could shift substantially to either east or west over the next three days. It also means that Erika could be considerably stronger or weaker than currently forecast. A lot of this uncertainty is based on the forecast movement of an upper level feature currently near Puerto Rico and the speed and orientation of a front / trough system which is expected to be moving eastward over the United States and Canada.
Water vapor imagery showing the current location of the front as the dark arc curving from eastern Canada, New York, and Pennsylvania to Tennessee and Arkansas.
While residents in the Turks and Caicos are like to be the first in our archipelago to experience Erika's impacts, the Leeward Islands are already under a tropical storm watch, which is expected to be upgraded later today. It's also likely that the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico will have warnings issued later today. Since Erika is currently intensifying at a relatively slow rate, the storm's passage through that part of the Caribbean may help to reduce the impact of a deep drought that has been affecting the area while causing minimal damage to infrastructure.
Residents in TCI and the Bahamas should be closely monitoring Erica's progress and should also move into the early stages of their hurricane preparation plan. This is a good time to begin checking shutters and long term supplies, ensuring the location of important documents, updating medical prescriptions, and so on. If Erika moves through the Bahamas as forecast, it will likely disrupt the beginning of the new school year for Bahamian primary and high school students.
Tropical Storm Erika in the Atlantic at 5:45 a.m. EDT on Tuesday 25th August, 2005
Sunday 22nd, August, 2015 marked the 23rd anniversary of Hurricane Andrew's devastating pass through the Bahamas. Cat 5 Andrew devastated parts of the Northwestern Bahamas and caused four deaths. It was the first major hurricane to strike the Bahamas in more than 25 years.
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.