CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The fifth named storm of the 2021 hurricane season has formed in the Atlantic. Elsa is the earliest fifth named storm on record, beating out last year’s Eduardo which formed on July 6.
Elsa is moving toward the west near 28 mph. An even faster motion toward the west-northwest is expected over the next 24 to 36 hours. On the forecast track, Elsa will pass near or over portions of the Windward Islands or the southern Leeward Islands on Friday, move into the eastern Caribbean Sea late Friday and Friday night, and move near the southern coast of Hispaniola on Saturday. By early Sunday Elsa is forecast to move near portions of eastern Cuba.
Recent satellite wind data indicate that maximum sustained winds are now near 45 mph with higher gusts. Some additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles, mainly to the north of the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1006 mb (29.71 inches).
Elsa is expected to produce rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches with maximum totals of 10 inches on Friday across the Windward and southern Leeward Islands, including Barbados. Over Puerto Rico, rainfall of 1 to 3 inches with localized amounts of 5 inches are expected Friday into Saturday. This rain may lead to isolated flash flooding and mudslides.