This time of year, one of our favorite things to do is hit the National Hurricane Center website a few times a day (2 & 5 a.m. and p.m. on the nose, to be accurate) to watch our federal tax dollars at work, tracking the development of tropical cyclones in our hemisphere all day long.
For the past few years, things have been a little dull on the site, fortunately — we needed that respite from the chaos of the mid-2000s.
A tropical wave would form somewhere off the coast of western Africa. Perhaps it'd turn into a tropical depression or an invest. If it developed into a tropical storm or hurricane, it'd eventually peter out, veer north or strike somewhere in the Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico, causing little to no damage.
So the past week has been interesting.
Hurricane Danny looked like a possible threat, but yesterday it dissipated on the eastern edge of the Caribbean, its remnants a menace only to nearby Hispaniola.
But now there's Tropical Storm Erika, picking up where Danny left off.
The storm's path is uncertain, but Erika is expected to develop into a hurricane in the coming days as it approaches south Florida — at least, a few projections expect it will. Some models show the storm heading north into the Atlantic, some show it weakening once it hits the Greater Antilles and some show it barreling toward Florida.
But no one really knows for sure. Let's hope that changes in a day or two.
Judging by the storm's forecast cone (above), though, Monday could be a wet one for Tampa Bay. You know what rainy days do to Tampa Bay. So stay safe.