The National Hurricane Center (NHC) announced Saturday Tropical Storm Erika has dissipated as a tropical cyclone, and tropical storm watches and warnings will be discontinued. However, The Weather Channel warned Floridians should still prepare for the possibility of impacts from the tropical storm.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott issued a state of emergency Friday as Erika headed toward the state after killing at least 20 people and causing devastating floods in the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica. Scott is scheduled to give Florida residents an update on the state's preparations during a press conference Saturday in Naples.




Nearly 10 years have passed since a hurricane made landfall in Florida. During that time span, the state has added more than 2 million new residents, according to The Weather Channel

"There are a lot of people here in Florida who have never experienced a hurricane," Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Gabe Somma told USA Today. "Even if this storm doesn't make landfall, we know it's going to kick up some serious surf and we don't want anyone getting sucked out by those rip currents. That's a very real threat even if the storm doesn't come ashore."




Capture The National Hurricane Center announced Saturday Erika has dissipated as a tropical cyclone, and tropical storm watches and warnings will be discontinued. Photo: National Hurricane Center

Erika remained a disorganized tropical storm Friday evening as it hit the mountainous terrain of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, The Weather Channel said. “Those mountains would be expected to disrupt Erika’s circulation, meaning that the system that emerges on the other side is at best disorganized and perhaps completely disrupted,” Bryan Norcross, hurricane specialist at The Weather Channel, said in a report.

Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said in a televised address late Friday the island has been set back 20 years by the damage inflicted by the storm, adding that hundreds of homes, bridges and roads have been destroyed. 

"This is a period of national tragedy," Skerrit said. "We have, in essence, to rebuild Dominica."




At 9:30 a.m. EDT, a special advisory was issued from the NHC saying the storm had degenerated to a “trough of low pressure.” Maximum sustained winds were still at 40 mph, traveling west-northwest at 20 mph. A turn toward the northwest and a decrease in forward speed are expected Sunday.

Although Erika poses no major wind threat to Florida, West-central Florida could see heavy rain Monday, Tuesday and possibly Wednesday.

Erika is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 3 to 6 inches with maximum amounts of 10 inches possible across portions of the Dominican Republic, Haiti and eastern and central Cuba through Sunday.