Earlier today I sent out a note to all UGA Extension agents about the possibility of impacts from Tropical Storm Erika early next week.  At the time of the email, Florida and southern Georgia as well as the eastern Carolinas were in the forecast cone for a direct pass by TS Erika starting on Sunday in southern Florida and stretching into midweek in more northern areas.  I’m happy to say that the forecast on subsequent runs has been slowly moving the most likely path of the storm to the east, which will mean less impacts for southwest Georgia and even the coastal areas of Florida and Georgia.

The 11 pm path map is shown below.  The latest forecast is showing more of a turn to the NW and then north by Monday afternoon, which would be likely to leave the center of circulation off the coast.  Rain bands wrapped around the circulation could still come onshore and cause local flooding, but this would probably be lower in amount than the passage of the center of the storm.  Note that impacts from the storm can occur outside the cone of the forecast, which just indicates the area within which the National Hurricane Center forecasters think is the most likely location of the center of the storm.  Winds would also be less strong in this scenario, although coastal erosion and high surf would be likely.

The second map shows the expected rainfall for the next three days., ending on Saturday night.  Most areas of the Southeast, with the exception of Florida, should see less than a quarter inch of rain in the next three days.  This will be good for field work and harvesting if dry conditions are needed.

There is still a lot of uncertainty in the forecast, and so you should continue to monitor hurricane path forecasts as the storm continues to move northwest.  It is possible that forecasts will continue to move the storm to the east and we may miss the rain entirely (with the exception of the coast of North Carolina), or we could see heavy rain near the Georgia, Florida and South Carolina coast even if the storm stays east.  It is also possible that future runs will move the path back to the west and put more of the western Southeast back in the crosshairs.  I will continue to post updates on this blog as conditions warrant.  Most of the forecasts agree that this is not likely to become a major hurricane but is likely to become a weaker category 1 or 2 storm as it moves through the Bahamas.


erika 11 pm 8-26-2015  3 day qpf 8-26-2015