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Tropical Storm Erika: Forecasters warn Florida and Southeast to keep watch

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Forecasters are warning Florida and the Southeast coast to keep an eye on Tropical Storm Erika, which could approach the United States early next week as anything from a soaking rain to a Category 3 hurricane.

The storm was described as "poorly organized" on Thursday, with winds of 50 mph, as it drifted over the islands of the eastern Caribbean. Flooding was reported on the island of Dominica, in the Lesser Antilles.

It was expected to rake Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands with tropical storm-force winds later in the day, then bring rain and wind to Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Friday.

TRACK ERIKA | Channel 3's Hurricane Tracker

What happens next depends on whether the storm can reorganize itself after passing over land, and which direction it takes. It could move inland over South Florida and mostly bring heavy rain.

But some computer forecast models show the storm bending east, staying over warm water and gaining strength, perhaps up to a Category 3 — a hurricane with wind of at least 111 mph.

The storm would probably stay off the coast of the Carolinas but could trigger coastal flooding, forecasters say.

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