Elsa Barrels Toward Florida’s West Coast, Bringing Heavy Rains and Wind

Hurricane Elsa is quickly moving towards Florida’s West Coast and will continue its journey northward through the Gulf of Mexico, causing storm surges, flooding rainfall, strong winds, and isolated tornadoes in many parts. Weather authorities have extended hurricane warnings for areas along and near the Florida west coast. The warning, which essentially means hurricane conditions can be expected, covers regions like Cedar Key, St. Petersburg, and Tampa. Heavy rain and strong winds are expected to batter the Florida Peninsula. The weather bands may even cause isolated tornadoes in the region at times. 

Forecast intensity and path

Meteorologists have forecast that Elsa will continue to track north and then move northeast over the next few days. While dry air and wind shear will slow Elsa’s intensification, it is expected to remain at a Category 1 hurricane status as it makes landfall on Wednesday (July 7). 

The Tampa – St. Petersburg region will likely be the worst affected. Parts of the Southeast, like southeast Georgia, southeast Virginia, and the coastal Carolinas, will also experience some severe weather conditions. On July 8, Elsa, or whatever its remnants are, could brush past a few parts of southeast New England. 

Impacts of Elsa

In general, Elsa’s impacts will be contained to and along the east of the track of Elsa’s center. Some of the possible impacts include a storm surge of 3 to 5 feet over ground level along the western coast of Florida if the peak surge happens at the time of high tide. Elsa is also expected to cause heavy rainfall in Florida and other regions of the southeast U.S. Weather experts have indicated that although Elsa is a hurricane, only a few regions are likely to experience hurricane-force winds. And, typical of tropical cyclones, Elsa may produce a few tornadoes.