Tropical Strom Emily has formed in the Caribbean this Monday. According to the National Hurricane Center, regional governments have issued warnings and watches.
Warnings for the storm were in effect for Puerto Rico, Dominica, the Dominican Republic as well as for the islands of Desirade, Guadeloupe, Marie Galante and Les Saintes, which means that storm may reach these areas within next 36 hours.
Watch for the tropical storm is in effect in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Saint Kitts, Nevis, Haiti, Antigua and Montserrat, meaning storm conditions may develop over these regions within next 48 hours.
At around 8 p.m. Monday, the area of thunderstorms and showers was upgraded to Tropical Strom Emily by the National Hurricane Center. The National Hurricane Center was tracking the system for several days and tropical storm-force winds were discovered during the day. A center of circulation was found by the investigating Hurricane Hunter aircraft Monday evening, which prompted the center to declare it as a tropical storm.
Tropical Storm Emily, which is approximately 350 miles in the southeast or San Juan, Puerto Rico and about 1,400 miles southeast of Miami, had sustained winds of 40 mph. It was moving westward at about 17 mph and is expected to gradually strengthen over the next couple of days.
John Cangialosi, a hurricane expert with the National Hurricane Center, stated that they are gathering more and more data every minute and are trying to establish what this system will develop into.
Specialists with the center said that it is too early to predict if Emily will affect South Florida as the tropical storm is still in early stages. However, some forecast models predict that it may hit South Florida by this weekend, while others expect it to turn toward the west coast of Florida to Tampa or head for the east coast in the direction of Daytona Beach. The National Hurricane Center’s long-term forecast showed that Emily could reach Florida on Friday or Saturday.
Dennis Feltgen, a spokesperson for the Miami-based center, said before the storm developed that the system is quite vigorous, and they are watching it closely. He urged residents to get ready now before the hurricane season reaches its peak.
Wes Hohenstein, chief meteorologist with NBC-17, stated that people in North Carolina and on the east coast should watch Emily closely. Arlene, Bret, Cindy and Don, the first four storms of the season, were all tropical storms, but didn’t develop into hurricanes. However, if the predictions hold, Tropical Strom Emily could strengthen into a hurricane before hitting the east coast this weekend.