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Tropical Storm Elsa approaches Cuba; Tropical storm watches and warnings issued in Florida | The Weather Channel – Articles from The Weather Channel



Tropical Storm Elsa approaches Cuba Tropical storm watches and warnings
Tropical Storm Elsa approaches Cuba; Tropical storm watches and warnings issued in Florida | The Weather Channel - Articles from The Weather Channelundefined
  • Tropical Storm Elsa brings heavy rain to Cuba.
  • Elsa will influence Florida from Tuesday to Wednesday.
  • Elsa will then tour the Carolinas and Southeast Virginia from Wednesday to Thursday.

Tropical Storm Elsa engulfs Cuba, then heads toward Florida and the southeastern United States coast, where impacts such as heavy rain, gusty winds and storm surge are likely.


(MORE: Follow Elsa here | Florida prepares for the storm)

Happening now

Elsa is centered near central Cuba and tracks to the northwest.

Bands of heavy rain and gusty winds hit parts of Cuba and the Cayman Islands. More than 5 centimeters of rain had fallen at at least one location in Jamaica since late Sunday morning.

Tropical storm-force winds affect locations shown in the orange shade on the map below.


Current satellite and wind field

(The orange circle shows the magnitude of the system’s tropical storm winds (at least 39 mph). The purple circle indicates the magnitude of the hurricane-force winds (at least 74 mph), according to the National Hurricane Center.)

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for parts of the Florida Keys, from Craig Key westward to the Dry Tortugas, and also along Florida’s west coast from Flamingo to Englewood. This includes Key West, Marco Island, Naples and Sanibel Island. Tropical storms (winds of 39+ mph) are expected to begin in these areas tonight in these areas.

Tropical storm watches have also been issued in other parts of Florida, from Craig Key east to Ocean Reef, including Florida Bay, and from Englewood north along the west coast to the Aucilla River, including Tampa Bay. These areas could experience tropical storms on Tuesday.

Several warnings and warnings for tropical storms and hurricanes remain in effect for the Caribbean, including parts of Cuba and the Cayman Islands. See the map below for more details.


(A watch is issued if a tropical storm or hurricane is possible within 48 hours. An alert is issued if those conditions are expected within 36 hours.)


Forecast Path and Intensity

Elsa will gradually turn more north-northwest and then north around the western periphery of a high-pressure system in the western Atlantic Ocean.


The storm will first move over Cuba on Monday. That interaction with Cuba should take some toll on its intensity.

The center of Elsa will then appear over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday.

The waters of the Gulf of Mexico will be warm enough for some reorganization of Elsa after it moves to northern Cuba. However, wind shear during this time may also increase, likely limiting the amount of possible intensification.

Be prepared for the storm with these essentials (SPONSORED)

The Elsa impacts could arrive in South Florida later Monday and then spread north across the state to Tuesday and Wednesday.


Other parts of the Southeast, including coastal Carolina and Southeast Virginia, may experience some impact from Elsa late Wednesday through Thursday evening, but that will depend on how well the system is organized once it moves northeast, near, inland, or returns offshore from the coast.


Current status and forecast path

(The red shaded area indicates the potential path from the center of the tropical cyclone. It is important to note that effects (particularly heavy rain, high surf, coastal flooding, wind) with a tropical cyclone tend to spread beyond the predicted path .)

Expected Effects Impact

In general, most of Elsa’s impacts – rain, wind, coastal flood/tidal wave, tornado threat – should occur along and east of Elsa’s center orbit.

Below is an overview of what we now know about the expected effects of Elsa.



Parts of central and western Cuba are expected to pick up 5 to 10 inches of storm-total rainfall, with isolated amounts up to 15 inches. This can lead to dangerous flash floods and mudslides.

In the Cayman Islands, 3 to 5 inches of rain is expected from Elsa, which could lead to some flash flooding there.

The most certain aspect of Elsa’s rendezvous with Florida is that it will bring rain. Parts of the Florida Keys and peninsula can expect 2 to 4 inches of rain, with up to 6 inches possible locally. This can cause some flash flooding, especially in urban areas.

More rain is expected in parts of southern and coastal Georgia to coastal Carolinas and southeastern Virginia, but Elsa will accelerate as it passes through these areas, so only isolated flash floods are expected.


Precipitation forecast

(Locally heavier totals are possible.)



Tropical storm conditions (winds of 39+ mph) can arrive in South Florida by late Monday or Monday evening. Stronger wind gusts can break some tree branches, topple trees and cause scattered power outages.

Wind gusts could then spread northward across the Florida peninsula through Tuesday and early Wednesday. For now, we expect winds of tropical storm force at most.


Chance of tropical storm wind

(The above outlines show the probability of tropical storm-force winds (at least 39 mph) and when they might first arrive, according to the latest National Hurricane Center forecast.)

storm surge


Flooding from storm surges is possible early this week near and east of where Elsa’s circulation center runs.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says storm surge can reach the following levels as peak wave arrives at the time of high tide:

-A storm surge of 2 to 4 feet above ground level is possible along Florida’s west coast, from Bonita Beach to the mouth of the Suwannee River, including Tampa Bay. The NHC has issued a storm surge barrier for this area.

-A storm surge of 1 to 3 feet above ground level is possible in southwestern Florida from Flamingo to Bonita Beach.

-A storm surge of 1 to 2 feet above ground level is possible in the Florida Keys from Ocean Reef to the Dry Tortugas, including Florida Bay.

– In southern Cuba, a storm surge could raise the water level 3 to 5 feet above the normal tide level.



Typical of most tropical cyclones, some tornadoes and waterspouts are also possible in parts of the Florida peninsula from Monday evening through Tuesday evening or Wednesday, given the potential increase in wind shear.


Tornado threat

(The map above shows the threat of tornadoes in the specified time period, according to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center.)

Elsa Summary

Tropical Depression Five formed late Wednesday night as it lay about 1,000 miles east of the Windward Islands.

The system then became Tropical Storm Elsa six hours later, on July 1, named the earliest forming fifth Atlantic storm on record in the satellite era (since 1966). The old record was held by Edouard, which developed on the evening of July 5 a year ago.


Elsa also formed unusually far south and east for so early in the hurricane season, according to Colorado State University tropical scientist Phil Klotzbach.


The next morning, Elsa became the first hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season almost on July 2. six weeks earlier than the average date of the season’s first Atlantic hurricane.

Elsa brought hurricane-force winds to Barbados and St. Lucia on Friday morning. Sustained winds of 74 mph and a gust of 86 mph were measured in Barbados early Friday. A wind gust of 129 km/h was reported in St. Lucia.

The name Elsa is new to the list of alternate names used this season. This year’s list was last used in 2015, but Erika was the “E” storm that year.

Erika retired after it caused deadly and devastating flooding on the Caribbean island of Dominica. Elsa replaced him.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on the latest weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.


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