MIDWAY, Fla. (WTXL) -- Tropical Storm Erika continues to be a difficulty to forecast as the northwest turn it was expected to take earlier has finally begun to occur. The western movement the storm has sustained today has caused the forecast cone to shift more to the west, with more of the west coast of Florida at risk for a landfall.
Over Saturday, Erika is expected to move over or just north of Cuba. Cuba is similar to the Dominican Republic as the nation also has mountainous terrain that could really disrupt a tropical cyclone's center. The forecast intensities as of the 8pm advisory do show Erika as a tropical depression emerging from Cuba. Now whether or not this occurs, the important thing for Tallahassee is how far west it moves after Cuba.
Now it's forecast strength is not expected to be great (minimal to moderate tropical storm strength of 40-50 mph), but depending on where the center of Erika moves, that strength can change.
If the center makes landfall in South Florida, it may possibly continue to weaken if it stays over the state. Heavy rains would be possible for the Big Bend.
If the center skirts the east coast of Florida, then Erika would likely funnel in most of the rain away from North Florida, giving Tallahassee and surrounding areas a clearer and drier pattern around Tuesday and Wednesday.
If the center pushes west and stays over the eastern Gulf just off of the west coast of Florida, Erika could have ample opportunities to strengthen and directly impact the Big Bend with strong winds and heavy rains. This is the worst scenario, but at the same time, strength would determine severity.
Regardless, any storm action for the local area this weekend will not be from Erika as it is still at least 3-4 days away from Big Bend. More updates will be available over the weekend. Stay tuned for then.
REMEMBER: Nothing is guaranteed with this storm's forecast so far since we are still a few days out, but still being in the cone of uncertainty prompts an extended look into local impacts.