The first hurricane of the Atlantic 2021 season has formed. Elsa has strengthened into a category 1 hurricane and is moving toward the west-northwest near 29 mph, and this motion is expected to continue during the next couple of days, with some decrease in forward speed expected Sunday night. On the forecast track, Elsa will move across the eastern Caribbean Sea later today and tonight, and move near the southern coast of Hispaniola late Saturday or Saturday night. By Sunday, Elsa is forecast to move near Jamaica and portions of eastern Cuba, and move near portions of central and western Cuba Sunday night and early Monday. Maximum sustained winds are near 75 mph with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours. Some decrease in winds is possible on Monday as Elsa interacts with Cuba.
STORM SURGE: A storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 1 to 3 feet above normal tide levels in areas of onshore winds in the hurricane warning area in the Windward Islands and 2 to 4 feet above normal tide levels along the southern coast of Hispaniola. RAINFALL: Elsa is expected to produce rainfall totals of 4 to 8 inches with maximum amounts of 15 inches today across the Windward and southern Leeward Islands, including Barbados. This rain may lead to isolated flash flooding and mudslides. Over Puerto Rico, rainfall of 1 to 3 inches with localized amounts of 5 inches is expected late today into Saturday. This rain may lead to isolated flash flooding and minor river flooding, along with the potential for mudslides. Across portions of southern Hispaniola and Jamaica, rainfall of 4 to 8 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches is possible Saturday into Sunday. This rain may lead to scattered flash flooding and mudslides.