The Virgin Islands remains under a Tropical Storm Warning this evening as Tropical Storm Erika continues toward the Leeward Islands.
At 5 p.m., the center of Erika was located near 16.6 degrees North, 58.9 degrees West or about 412 miles southeast of St. Thomas. Erika's is maintaining a westerly course at 17 miles per hour and a west to west-northwestward motion at a slightly slower forward speed is expected over the next two days.
Top winds are at 45 miles per hour with higher gusts. Little change in intensification is expected over the next two days. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 105 miles primarily to the east of the center.
Erika is expected to produce total rain accumulations of three to five inches with maximum amounts of 8 inches across portions of the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico through Friday morning.
On this forecast track, the center of Erika will move near or over portions of the Leeward Islands tonight and move near the Virgin Islands on Thursday. Erika is expected to make her closest point of approach to the territory on Thursday between 5 and 6 p.m. when the center of the storm will be within ten miles of St. Thomas and St. John. At that time, Erika is forecast to be a tropical storm with top winds of 45 miles per hour.
Residents on St. John will experience tropical storm force winds for an approximate seven hour duration beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday. Residents on St. Thomas will experience tropical storm force winds for about seven hours beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday while on St. Croix tropical storm force winds will be experienced an estimated five hours from 5 - 10 p.m. Thursday with peak winds of 39 miles per hour occurring at about 5 p.m. Thursday.
An intermediate advisory will be issued at or about 8 p.m.