A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for the Virgin Islands as tropical storm conditions are expected during the day Thursday.
At 8 p.m., the center of Tropical Storm Erika was located near 16.7 degrees North, 59.5 West or about 365 miles southeast of the Virgin Islands. Erika is moving toward the west near 17 miles per hour. A
west- northwestward motion at a slightly slower forward speed is expected over the next 48 hours. Top winds are near 45 miles per hour and are confined to heavy squalls southeast of the center. Little change in strength or perhaps some slight weakening could occur during the next 48 hours. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 105 miles to the east of the center.
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 six hours beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday while on St. Croix tropical storm force winds will be experienced for 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.