In addition to heavy rains, there is a danger of flash storm surge and flooding. In addition, the National Hurricane Center warned that there might be tornadoes in the peninsula.
The weather in South Florida began to deteriorate early Tuesday morning as Hurricane Elsa, so labeled by authorities on Tuesday afternoon, approached Florida. According to the National Hurricane Center, the hurricane warning has been activated for stretches of the western coast of the state.
At the moment, the affected cities are Charlotte, DeSoto, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, PInelles, Polk, and Sarasota. In all of them, there is an alert until 11 at night this Tuesday.
In addition to high winds and heavy rains, there is a danger of flash surges, floods, and tornadoes. Therefore, a hurricane watch was issued for the Florida coast from Egmont Key to the Steinhatchee River.
Rainfall of 127 to 203 millimeters (5 to 8 inches) is forecast for Bud and southwest and west of the Florida Peninsula. The center predicted that there might be tornadoes in the south on Tuesday morning and on the peninsula in the following hours.
Gov. Ron de Santis has extended the state of emergency in the area to a dozen counties where Elsa is expected to pass on Wednesday, and President Joe Biden has approved an emergency declaration for the state.
Bands of rain were expected to reach Surfside on Florida's Atlantic coast, soaking the debris from Champlain Towers South, which collapsed on June 24, killing at least 28 people and leaving 117 missings. Search, and rescue teams have been working in the rain, but it is important to stop in case of lightning. A garage area in the caked debris has already filled with water Monday, authorities said.
Elsa's strong winds blew at 95 kilometers per hour (60 mph) early Tuesday morning. Gradual strengthening is forecast through Tuesday night, and Elsa could gain near hurricane strength before making landfall in Florida. His eye was 105 kilometers (65 miles) southwest of Key West and 345 kilometers (215 miles) south of Tampa. It was moving north-northwest at 17 km / h (10 mph).
Forecasters predict that Elsa will hit the coast of Georgia and South Carolina after Florida. The Georgia coast was under a tropical storm watch, as was the South Carolina coast from the St. Marys River's mouth to the South Santee River. Forecasters said tornadoes could hit the eastern Carolinas and Virginia as Elsa moves north.
Storm surge could reach 1.5 meters above normally dry land in the Tampa Bay area if Elsa passes at high tide, forecasters said. Commander Col. Ben Johnson said only necessary personnel were allowed Tuesday morning at McDulle Air Force Base, located along the Gulf of South Tampa Island.
Elsa's westbound move saved the Lower Florida Keys from a direct hit. However, it was still raining heavily on the islands on Tuesday. As a result, tropical storm warnings were posted for the Florida Keys from Craig Key westward to the Dry Tortugas and for the west coast of Florida from Flamingo northward to the Ochlockonee River.
Margarita Pedroza, who lives in a boat in Cast West, told WPLG that a strong storm may have forced her to land but that the weather was bad. He told the television station to just turn off the hatch and get ready.
"It doesn't look as strong as some other storms, which hope the winds won't be that strong, and there may be rain somewhere, but hopefully there won't be much rain," he said.
Passage through Cuba without damage
Cuban officials evacuated 180,000 people due to the possibility of heavy flooding from a storm that has already hit several Caribbean islands, killing at least three people. But Elsa spent Sunday and much of Monday sweeping parallel to the southern coast of Cuba, preventing most of the island from suffering significant effects.
They landed in Cuba, near Caniga de Zapata, a natural park with some inhabitants, and crossed the island east of Havana. It is expected to reach 10 inches (25 cm) in parts of Cuba on Tuesday with isolated heights of 15 inches (38 cm), leading to major flooding and landslides. But there were no immediate reports of injuries or severe damage.
They landed in Cuba, near Cienega de Zapata, a natural park with some inhabitants, and crossed the island east of Havana. It is expected to reach 10 inches (25 cm) in parts of Cuba on Tuesday with isolated heights of 15 inches (38 cm), leading to major flooding and landslides. But there were no immediate reports of injuries or severe damage.
Tropical storm conditions continued in central and western Cuba Tuesday morning, even as the storm reached Florida.
Elsa was the first hurricane of the Atlantic season through Saturday morning. It caused widespread damage across several eastern Caribbean islands on Friday. As a tropical storm, it resulted in the death of one person in Santa Lucia, a 15-year-old boy and a 75-year-old woman in the Dominican Republic.
Elsa is the fifth-earliest storm on record, said Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami.