Tropical Storm Erika Spins Toward Caribbean, Path Unclear

Image: probable path of Tropical Storm ERIKA
Tropical storm ERIKA's potential track area and probable path forecast by National Hurricane Center/NOAA.National Hurricane Center/NOAA

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By Erin McClam

Tropical Storm Erika is drifting west toward the Caribbean, and forecasters say it could become a hurricane and brush close to Florida early next week.

Tropical storm watches were posted Tuesday for some islands in the east Caribbean. At 11 a.m. ET, Erika packed winds of 45 mph and was about 700 miles east of the Leeward Islands.

The Weather Channel reported that Erika could strengthen to a minor hurricane by Saturday, as it passes near the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba.

From there, the storm’s strength and path will depend on whether it passes over land and weakens, and on how it interacts with atmospheric wind patterns. Forecasters are advising people Florida and the Southeast to keep an eye on the storm.