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Tropical Storm Elsa nears Florida bringing 65 mph winds and flood warnings

Tropical Storm Elsa nears Florida bringing 65 mph winds and flood warnings
A visualization of Tropical Storm Elsa as seen at 5:12 a.m. ET on July 7, 2021. The colors represent brightness temperature, a measure of atmospheric intensity. Tropical Tidbits
  • Elsa is forecast to hit northern Florida’s Gulf Coast late morning or early afternoon on Wednesday.

  • It weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm early Wednesday morning.

  • The National Hurricane Center warned of heavy rainfall, flash floods, and life-threatening storm surge.

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Elsa is about 35 miles off Florida’s northwest coast. Winds are expected to weaken only after Elsa makes landfall.

Tropical Storm Elsa wind speed probabilities

As of 8 a.m. ET, Elsa was about 35 miles west of Cedar Key, Florida, and 115 miles from Tampa, the National Hurricane Center said.

Storm-surge and tropical-storm warnings remained in effect for parts of Florida’s west coast, and a hurricane warning was still in effect for the area from Chassahowitzka to the Steinhatchee River, which is above Tampa.

As of 8 a.m. ET, maximum sustained winds were still at around 65 mph, and the NHC said it was expecting “little change in strength” until landfall.

Winds are also expected to weaken after Elsa moves inland, the NHC said.

Elsa weakens from a hurricane to a tropical storm early Wednesday morning, and is expected to make landfall by late morning or early afternoon.

Pedestrians in Florida before Storm Elsa arrives

Two people on Dodecanese Boulevard at the Tarpon Springs, Florida, on July 6, 2021, as the state prepares for Storm Elsa to make landfall. Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via AP

Elsa weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm around 2 a.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center said.

The NHC said Elsa was forecasted to make landfall along the north Florida Gulf coast by late morning or early afternoon on Wednesday, later than previously estimated.

As at 5 a.m. ET, the center of the storm was off Florida’s west coast, and moving north at a speed of around 14 mph, the NHC said. Maximum sustained winds were at about 65 mph.

A tropical storm warning was in place for parts of Florida’s west coast, and a hurricane warning from Chassahowitzka to the Steinhatchee River, an area above Tampa.

The NHC said the storm was expected to move across the southeastern and mid-Atlantic US through Thursday, as shown in the image above.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issues a state of emergency for 92 counties ahead of landfall in Florida.

Brian Kemp

Gov. Brian Kemp (R-Georgia). AP Photo/John Bazemore

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency for nearly 100 counties in middle, south, and southeast Georgia on Tuesday night in preparation for Hurricane Elsa’s anticipated Wednesday morning landfall in Florida.

As Elsa began battering the Florida Keys on Tuesday evening, the National Hurricane Center forecasted that hurricane would become a Category 1.

Kemp’s emergency order was effective immediately following his Tuesday night signature.

Elsa regains its hurricane status southwest of Tampa Bay on Tuesday evening.

Satellite photo of Hurricane Elsa.

In addition to damaging winds and heavy rains, the Miami-based U.S. National Hurricane Center warned of life-threatening storm surges, flooding and isolated tornadoes. NOAA via AP

Hurricane Elsa jumped from a Tropical Storm back to a Hurricane around 8 p.m. ET, Southwest of Tampa Bay, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The status change arrives before experts project the hurricane will make landfall over the Northern Florida Gulf Coast late Tuesday evening and into Wednesday.

Elsa may then move across the Southeastern United States through Tuesday.

The National Hurricane Center warned of possible tornadoes across Florida until Elsa weakens, likely Tuesday into Wednesday.

Tropical Storm Elsa is expected to make landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast as a Category 1 hurricane early Wednesday morning, according to The National Hurricane Center (NHC). The agency issued a hurricane warning for a portion of Florida’s western coast, between Egmont Key and the Steinhatchee River, through Wednesday.

Tropical Storm Elsa

Tropical Storm Elsa’s projected path through the Gulf of Mexico and north along the US East Coast. National Hurricane Center

“Elsa nearing hurricane strength,” the NHC tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. The storm is expected to make landfall Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. local time.

A hurricane warning indicates that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected. A hurricane watch, meanwhile, means such conditions are possible.

Tropical Storm Elsa is moving north at 10 miles per hour.

satellite image elsa noaa
An infrared satellite image of Tropical Storm Elsa, July 4, 2021. NOAA

The NHC warned of a possible life-threatening storm surge along Florida’s west coast through Wednesday. The agency issued a storm surge warning from Bonita Beach to the Aucilla River, including the city of Tampa Bay, which is expected to get up to 5 feet of storm surge.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the coast of Georgia from the Mouth of St. Marys River to Altamaha Sound. Elsa is expected to move across the southeastern US through Thursday.

The storm was about 155 miles south of Tampa at 5 p.m., according to the NHC, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph. Wind speeds increased by 10 mph since 11 a.m.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned residents to prepare for the impending storm.

Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

DeSantis and state lieutenant governor Jeanette Nuñez issued warnings to Florida residents on Tuesday.

“We ask Floridians to please begin their preparations that include to potentially be prepared to potentially be without power for a few days,” Nuñez said at a press conference.

More than 9,000 Florida residents are already without power as of 5 p.m., CBS reported.

Both Nuñez and DeSantis urged Floridians throughout the state to take precautions. Twenty-two Florida counties are under tropical storm warnings.

“Be prepared to be without power for a few days and having enough food and water for each person in their family, including for your pets,” DeSantis said, according to CBS Miami.

On Monday, DeSantis reminded residents that if they plan to use a backup generator in case of a power outage, they must safely vent exhaust fumes outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

Parts of the Florida Keys and coastal areas near Tampa Bay are expected to get as much as 8 inches of rain this week, which could cause flash flooding.

Tropical Storm Elsa

Cloudy skies hang over Havana, Cuba, after Tropical Storm Elsa passed the Caribbean island. AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa

That heavy rainfall is forecast to continue as Elsa travels northeast across coastal Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and southeastern Virginia.

Elsa hit Cuba and other Caribbean islands over the weekend and on Monday. More heavy rainfall — a maximum of 15 inches — is also expected in parts of Cuba Tuesday.

That rain will cause significant flash flooding and mudslides, according to the NHC.

Weather from Tropical Storm Elsa’s approach is scuttling search-and-rescue efforts at the collapsed Champlain Towers South condominium near Miami.

Surfside

Rescue teams work at the site of the collapsed Champlain Tower South condo in Surfside, Florida. Eva Marie Uzcategui Trinkl/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Workers recovered four additional bodies Monday night from the rubble of the collapsed Florida condo tower, bringing the total number of known deaths to 32. About 120 people are still missing as of Tuesday.

Elsa is the fifth named storm of 2021. It’s the earliest in the season that a fifth name storm has ever formed.

A satellite image of Hurricane Elsa

Hurricane Elsa churns in the Caribbean Sea. NOAA

Elsa has killed at least three people so far in the Dominican Republic and St. Lucia. Although it’s currently a tropical storm, meaning its sustained wind speeds are slower than 74 mph, Elsa was briefly classified as a Category 1 hurricane on Friday.

Hurricanes and tropical storms in the Atlantic are getting stronger, on average, as the climate crisis causes ocean and air temperatures to climb. The chances of a tropical storm becoming a major hurricane have increased by 8% every decade for the past 40 years.

The 2020 hurricane season shattered records with a total of 30 named storms. That year tied 2016 as the hottest ever on record.

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Julia Mangels

Julia has handled various businesses throughout her career and has a deep domain knowledge. She founded Stock Market Pioneer in an attempt to bring the latest news to its readers. She is glued to the stock market most of the times and just loves being in touch with the developments in the business world.

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