JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Though it can be easy to forget that Florida is in the middle of hurricane season, aside from local meteorologists The National Weather Service is one of the only other places that doesn't forget, and has a constant eye on the satellite pictures following the path of every major storm including watching Tropical Storm Erika's every move.
Tropical storm warnings have been issued for Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and Leeward Islands as Erika continues west. At 8 a.m. Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said Erika showed winds increasing to 45 mph and has taken a slight turn towards the north.
No one really knows what will happen with Erika yet but the ones who will know first, beyond Channel 4's John Gaughan of course, are the meteorologists like Andrew Shashy at the National Weather Service.
"Throughout the week we're going to be monitoring Erika through satellite imagery and are always looking at the National Hurricane Center advisories," Shashy said.
As of Tuesday they say it's just a tropical storm with an uncertain track that is starting to focus its attention on south Florida by the hour.
"Over the next few days, as we start to look at the development of the cloud pattern around Erika, and are looking at models about intensity, (we'll) find out exactly whether it will go more toward a southern track, (or stay the same)," Shashy said.
Shashy said the system will likely get stronger if it goes north, toward Florida, then south, away from Florida.
But he points out that the last direct hit on Jacksonville was Hurricane Dora back in the '60s.
"(Jacksonville) is the usual area where systems start to recurve, fortunately for us that's been great news, but every once in a while we need to be on our guard," Shashy said.