Tropical Storm Erika developed to the east of the Leeward Islands on September 1, 2009 and is currently located approximately 85 miles (140 kilometers) west of Guadeloupe. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Erika is poorly organized and packs sustained winds of around 40 mph (65 kmph). The storm is travelling in a west-northwest direction and this general motion is expected to continue for the next day or so with an increase in forward speed. On this track, Erika is expected to move through the Leeward Islands this morning and approach the United States and British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico later today. The NHC said Erika is a large storm with tropical storm-force winds extending 230 miles (370 kilometers) from the center of the storm.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for Dominica, Guadeloupe, St Martin, St Barthelemy, Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, St Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla, St Maarten, Saba and St Eustatius. A tropical storm warning is also in place for Puerto Rico and the United States and British Virgin Islands. The NHC said Erika could produce 2 to 4 inches (50 to 100 millimeters) of rain over much of the Lesser Antilles, with up to 6 inches (150 millimeters) possible in some areas. Up to 8 inches (200 millimeters) of rainfall is also forecast to fall in Puerto Rico. Heavy rainfall and rough seas have been reported in the region but there has been no significant damage.
Hazard data illustrated in the CAT-i map was taken from i-aXs®, Guy Carpenter’s web-based risk management platform. i-aXs users can view impacted areas on any map as well as see how their portfolios were affected. Please contact your broker or Instrat® representative for assistance or go to www.i-axs.info for further information.
The NHC expects Erika to follow a general northwesterly track today and tomorrow and weaken to a depression as it heads towards Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. However, as Erika’s poorly defined circulation is making it difficult to pinpoint the storm’s current location, there is considerable uncertainty associated with the forecast track and intensity. The current NHC forecast sees Erika weakening to a depression over the next couple of days due to an increasing wind shear. However, some forecast models expect the storm to retain its tropical storm status over the next five days.
Given this uncertainty, Guy Carpenter will closely monitor Erika and an updated report will be issued should the storm grow to pose a significant threat.
Sources: National Hurricane Center, WSI, Associated Press, Reuters News, Agence France Presse
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