August 28, 2015

County officials monitoring TS Erika

Update from the Monroe County Office of Emergency Management

As of early Friday evening, the center of Tropical Storm Erika was just off the central southern coast of Hispaniola and less than 800 miles east, southeast of Key West.

The storm, according to meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center and Key West National Weather Service Office, continues to be poorly organized and there is a good possibility it will degenerate into a tropical depression.

Although all the Keys and the southern Florida peninsula remain in the three-day track error cone, no tropical storm watches or warnings have been issued.

In fact, the discussion component of the hurricane center's 5 p.m. advisory package noted: "Although this would normally be an appropriate time for a tropical storm watch for portions of southern Florida, following typical timelines, we have elected to wait until we see what's left of Erika after it passes Hispaniola. There is a significant chance that no watches or warnings for Florida will be required."

The official forecast shows the center of the storm southeast of the Lower Keys Sunday afternoon with maximum winds of 40 mph. But confidence in that forecast is not high.

Monroe County Emergency Management staged a Friday evening conference call to continue discussing Erika, but given the lack of tropical storm watches and warnings, no protective-action directives were issued.  Another conference call is scheduled for Saturday morning.

Keys residents and visitors should continue to closely monitor future progress of Erika.

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