Tropical Storm Elsa heading toward Florida

Forecast to make landfall north of Tampa
Tropical Alerts
Posted at 5:16 PM, Jul 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-05 18:16:21-04

Tropical Storm Elsa moved across central Cuba Monday and is forecast to move into the southeast Gulf by Tuesday morning. Storm surge and tropical storm warnings were extended north up the west coast of Florida and west to the Big Bend area. The easternmost part of the panhandle was under a tropical storm watch.

Elsa became the earliest E storm on record, beating out Edouard, which formed July 6, 2020. Elsa is the fifth named storm of the season in the Atlantic. It moved ashore in Barbados as a Category 1 hurricane Friday which was the first hurricane to hit Barbados in more than 60 years.

WIND: Tropical storm conditions should continue over portions of central and western Cuba for the next several hours. Tropical storm conditions are expected in the warning area in the Florida Keys beginning tonight and along the Florida west coast beginning Tuesday. Tropical storm conditions are expected to spread northward into the Florida Big Bend region within the Tropical Storm Warning area Tuesday night and early Wednesday. Tropical storm conditions are possible in the watch area beginning late Tuesday night.

STORM SURGE: A storm surge will raise water levels above normal tide levels by as much as the following amounts in areas of onshore winds within the hurricane watch and warning areas... Southern coast of Cuba...2 to 4 ft The combination of a storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water could reach the following heights above ground somewhere in the indicated areas if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide... Englewood, FL to Aucilla River including Tampa Bay...3 to 5 ft Bonita Beach, FL to Englewood, FL including Charlotte Harbor...2 to 4 ft Aucilla River to Ochlockonee River...2 to 4 ft Flamingo, FL to Bonita Beach, FL...1 to 3 ft Ocean Reef, FL to Dry Tortugas including Florida Bay...1 to 2 ft Ochlockonee River to Indian Pass...1 to 2 ft Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances.

RAINFALL: Across portions of Cuba tonight, rainfall of 5 to 10 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches is expected. This will result in significant flash flooding and mudslides. Across the Cayman Islands tonight, rainfall of 3 to 5 inches is expected. This rain may lead to scattered flash flooding. Elsa is expected to produce the following rainfall amounts and impacts this week: Across the Keys into southwest and western portions of the Florida Peninsula...3 to 5 inches with localized maximum totals up to 8 inches through Wednesday, which may result in considerable flash and urban flooding, along with minor to isolated moderate river flooding. Across the rest of Florida into southeast Georgia and the Low Country of South Carolina...2 to 4 inches with localized maximum totals up to 6 inches through Wednesday night, which may result in isolated flash, urban, and minor river flooding. Across coastal portions of North Carolina into southeastern Virginia...1 to 3 inches with isolated totals up to 5 inches Wednesday night through Thursday night, which could lead to isolated flash and urban flooding.

TORNADOES: A few tornadoes are possible across south Florida tonight and across the Florida Peninsula on Tuesday. SURF: Swells generated by Elsa will spread westward along the southern coast of Cuba tonight. Swells will increase near the Florida Keys and south Florida tonight and spread northward along the west coast of Florida tonight through Tuesday night.