As Florida braces for the impact of tropical storm Elsa, a majority of the Carolinas and surrounding areas will likely feel the effects from the storm later this week.
A hurricane watch was issued for the Sunshine State’s western coast, but it’s unknown if Elsa will strengthen before making landfall. The system is not predicted to reach hurricane status for a second time. However, there is some possibility of that happening right before landfall early Wednesday, according to the Weather Channel.
“Gulf of Mexico waters will be plenty warm enough for some reorganization of Elsa as it moves through the eastern Gulf. However, wind shear and dry air should slow the pace of any intensification before its landfall near Florida’s Big Bend region early Wednesday.”
Heavy winds and rainfall were reported Tuesday morning in the Florida Keys with Elsa moving northwest about 70 miles away from the group of islands. As of 11 a.m. on Tuesday, the center of Elsa was located 215 miles south of Tampa with maximum sustained winds at 60 mph.
Elsa will sweep across Cuba Tuesday before moving into the Gulf of Mexico and across central Florida. What’s left of the storm will dump up to five inches of rain in Georgia and the Carolinas on Wednesday night into Thursday. Tropical storm conditions are likely with the primary threat of isolated tornadoes associated with the system.
Elsa was the earliest forming fifth named Atlantic storm on record since 1966, according to researchers from Colorado State University.