Hurricane Erika Swirls Out Over Atlantic
At 5 a.m. EDT, Erika was centered about
485 miles south-southeast of Bermuda, at latitude 25.9 north and longitude
west, and moving toward the north-northeast near 13 mph, forecasters said.
Maximum sustained winds approached 125
mph, making Erika the first Category 3 hurricane of the Atlantic storm
season. If it
struck land at that strength, Erika would bring major flooding, destroy mobile homes and cause severe damage to smaller
The National Hurricane Center said more
strengthening was possible, but that Erika had cleared the Caribbean and
expected to threaten the U.S. East Coast.
"We don't see anything that can
turn this back to the U.S. East Coast," Frank Pasch, a hurricane forecaster
at the Center, said
Monday. "Our main concern would be the island of Bermuda."
Erika formed Wednesday and grew to hurricane strength early Friday.
Pasch said forecasters expected to have a better idea of Erika's threat to Bermuda Tuesday. He said early projections of the storm's path had Erika missing the British colony.
If Erika's sustained winds reached 131
mph, it would become a Category 4 hurricane. Hurricane Andrew, which caused
than $20 billion in damages after it slammed into Florida five years ago, was a Category 4 storm.
8:26 AM EDT