Tropical Storm Elsa is expected to make landfall in Cuba and part of the Florida Keys before heading to mainland Florida. The storm will be bringing approximately 60 mile-per-hour winds and will drop five to ten inches of rain in Cuba.
Governor Ron DeSantis issued a state of emergency for 15 Florida counties, with nine million Floridians being under tropical storm watches and warnings.
Monroe County officials, which constitutes the Florida Keys, have said mandatory evacuations will not be expected for this storm.
“The last thing we want is a lot of people leaving the Florida Keys on Monday at 11 a.m.,” Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi said. “We hope visitors will consider extending their stay through Wednesday, when we are expecting normal summertime conditions to resume, or to leave earlier on Monday to avoid traffic issues in the Upper Keys we normally see after busy holiday weekends.”
The National Weather Service (NWS) says Florida’s western coast, including Tampa Bay, can expect tropical storm warnings and storm surge lifting waters between two to four feet. Most of Florida will see heavy rainfall reaching as much as six inches, and urban areas could face flash flooding.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has also said tornadoes could likely be possible across South Florida.
As far north as Florida’s Big Bend and near Apalachicola, counties are already being issued tropical storm watches despite the storm not being likely to reach north Florida until early Wednesday.
The NHC has said Elsa will likely weaken while passing over Cuba however “slight re-strengthening is forecast after Elsa moves over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.”
Elsa was previously a Category 1 hurricane until Saturday morning when it was downgraded. It is also the fifth named storm on record for this hurricane season, which officially began on June 1 and broke the record as being the fastest-moving-hurricane moving at 31 miles-per-hour.
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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
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