Weakened ERIKA undecided but will be a rainmaker

ERIKA is changing by the hour and the range in consequences range drastically between complete dissipation over Hispaniola to strong tropical storm strength but none of the reports received here in the last few hours refer to a hurricane. ERIKA has not reorganised since weakening 48 hours ago and is till causing some uncertainty. Reconnaissance aircraft have been buzzing ERIKA and struggled to find an organised centre at all. The cyclone is now broadly speaking within spitting distance of Santa Domingo in the Dominican Republic and still moving west at 15 knots. Wind speeds have hardly increased over the last two days, 45 gusting 60 knots but the windfield has reduced slightly to a radius of 110 miles. This is of course causing torrential rain across Hispaniola. The current hurricane severity index rating is just 3 out of a possible 50 points (1 size, 2 intensity). At any time now, ERIKA will turn towards land and into Hispaniola. This is the crunch point. A direct crossing with maximum time over land will cause the cyclone to lose any semblance of organisation. Any variation on this - left or right of centre - and the storm is likely to retain capacity to dig in quickly after leaving the island in its wake.

The three track options still remain – a weak track along the west coast of Florida – strong landfall in Florida - a very strong swipe along the east coast. The general consensus between the more reliable commentators is for ERIKA to make a landfall somewhere in far southern Florida as a tropical storm with winds of 40 to 50 knots and weakening after landfall, but this changes by the hour and local forecasters will be over this like a rash now. Whatever the outcome, ERIKA has spent much time dithering at sea and as a consequence, will be a rainmaker.

Disturbance thirty two drifted well to the north of track and is in dry, infertile air about 700 miles north of the Amazon and has little chance of developing.

Disturbance thirty three is around 900 miles east-nor'east of the Amazon delta and is dashing west. This looks fairly well organised but is set slightly south of track which will mean facing intense wind shear and it may weaken as it approaches the Caribbean.

Disturbance thirty four slipped the surly bonds of earth in the last hour and set a westerly course from the African coast, and already has a twinkle in its eye.

Stand by Hispaniola and Florida.

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