The National hurricanes Center stated that Tropical Storm Elsa, which was weakened overnight after a Category 1 hurricane, would make landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast late Wednesday morning or early Thursday afternoon.
At 8 AM Eastern Time, the storm was approximately 70 miles west-northwest from Tampa, Fla., with sustained winds of 65 mph. The storm was moving north at approximately 14 m.p.h.
Elsa passed close to the Florida Keys on Tuesday and could dump as much as nine inches of rain in certain parts of the state. She then moves across the Southeast to the Mid-Atlantic States until Thursday.
Elsa will be the first major hurricane of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season to strike Florida’s mainland. It has been a Category 1 hurricane twice since Friday before becoming a tropical storm.
Map: Tracking the path of Tropical Storm Elsa
For parts of western Florida north of Tampa, a hurricane warning was in place. Watches and warnings for tropical storms extended to Virginia.
In the Florida Keys, as well as the western and southwestern parts of the state and possibly flooding, up to nine inches could fall on Wednesday. As much as six inches of rain could be possible Wednesday night in other parts of Florida.
Parts of South Carolina and southeast Georgia could see several inches of rain as the storm moves north. This week, there may be flooding. On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis from Florida and Gov. Brian Kemp, Georgia, issued emergency declarations for certain parts of their states.
Although tornadoes were possible across Florida on Wednesday morning, forecasts indicated that the Surfside condominium collapse would be spared by the storm’s worst effects.
Elsa swept through Cuba Monday with gusty winds, torrential rains, and the felling of trees. Some cities also received electricity cables from Elsa.
At least one boat was damaged by the storm. A vessel carrying 22 Cubans was swept away by the storm on Monday night. The Coast Guard released a statement Wednesday saying that it had capsized 26 miles southeast of Key West.
Cmdr. Jacob McMillan, Coast Guard. “The seas can be unpredictable and unforgiving.”
Elsa formed last week as a tropical hurricane and is now the fifth named storm in the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.
Ana was the first named storm to form in the Atlantic this season on May 23. This makes it the seventh consecutive year that Ana has been named before the season officially began on June 1.
It is becoming increasingly clear that hurricanes and climate change have many commonalities. A warmer planet will experience more powerful hurricanes and more frequent storms. However, the number of storms could drop as stronger winds shear may prevent weaker storms from forming.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there will be 13 to 20 named hurricanes in this year’s Atlantic, including six to ten hurricanes and three to five hurricanes of Category 3.
There were 30 named storms last year, including six hurricanes. This forced meteorologists to abandon the alphabet and use Greek letters.
This storm had the most storms ever recorded, surpassing the 2005 28 storms. It also included the second-highest number of hurricanes.
Reporting was provided by Jacey Fortin and Johnny Diaz.