As Danny weakens, Erika may be on the horizon

     (Image: National Hurricane Center)

    (Image: National Hurricane Center)

    The once formidable Tropical Depression Danny, reaching Category 3 hurricane strength late last week, continue to weaken as it passes through the Leeward Islands, according to the National Hurricane Center.

    Additional weakening is expected as Danny continues to head south of Puerto Rico and dissipate on its approach to Hispaniola by early Wednesday morning.

    Elsewhere, a disturbance about 1250 miles east of the southern Lesser Antilles in the open Atlantic Ocean has become better organized since yesterday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

    “Satellite data also indicates that the low’s circulation is gradually becoming better defined,” according to a National Hurricane Center outlook. “If current trends continue, a tropical depression is likely to form later today or tonight while the low moves westward at 20 miles per hour.”

    Tropical forecasters peg the formation chance through 48 hours at 90 percent. If a tropical storm forms, it will become Erika. 

    Global forecast models generally agree that Erika will form and track in a path similar to Danny before heading more northwest, hooking to the north, and then generally northeast. 

    But as with all tropical systems, forecasts advise the public to monitor all official forecasts.

    Another area of disturbance off the African coast has a 10 percent chance of tropical formation within five days. 

    The peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is on Sept. 10, which is the day when historically the maximum amount of convection and minimal amount of shear are found in the Atlantic basin, leading to the best chance of tropical system development.

    The relatively quiet season is due to dry air blowing from Africa over the tropical zone and disruptive upper level winds, according to hurricane specialists. 

    With the season’s peak approaching, forecasters advise coastal residents to have a plan should a tropical system threaten or strike. 

    The 2015 hurricane season ends on Nov. 30.  

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