Tropical Storm Elsa is nearing hurricane strength. The National Hurricane Center says the storm now has winds of up to 70 miles per hour. A portion of the Florida Gulf Coast is now under a hurricane warning as the storm approaches. Elsa is currently about 180 miles south of Tampa and it's moving at just nine miles per hour. Forecasters expect the system to move over or near parts of Florida's west coast today into tonight. Landfall along the northern part of the state's Gulf Coast is expected tomorrow.
SUMMARY OF 200 PM EDT...1800 UTC...INFORMATION
ABOUT 95 MI...150 KM NW OF KEY WEST FLORIDA
ABOUT 180 MI...295 KM S OF TAMPA FLORIDA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...70 MPH...110 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...N OR 360 DEGREES AT 9 MPH...15 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1000 MB...29.53 INCHES
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:
A Hurricane Warning has been issued along the west coast of Florida
from Egmont Key to the Steinhatchee River.
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for...
* West coast of Florida from Bonita Beach to the Aucilla
River, including Tampa Bay
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for...
* Egmont Key to the Steinhatchee River, Florida
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
* The Florida Keys from Craig Key westward to the Dry Tortugas
* West coast of Florida from Flamingo to south of Egmont Key
* West coast of Florida north of Steinhatchee River to Ochlockonee
A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for...
* West of the Aucilla River to the Ochlockonee River, Florida
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...
* Mouth of St. Marys River to South Santee River, South Carolina
A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening
inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline,
in the indicated locations. For a depiction of areas at risk,
please see the National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning
Graphic, available at hurricanes.gov. This is a life-threatening
situation. Persons located within these areas should take all
necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water
and the potential for other dangerous conditions. Promptly follow
evacuation and other instructions from local officials.
A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected
somewhere within the warning area, in this case within the next 24
hours. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed
A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are
expected somewhere within the warning area.
A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life-
threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the
coastline, in the indicated locations. For a depiction of areas at
risk, please see the National Weather Service Storm Surge
Watch/Warning Graphic, available at hurricanes.gov.
A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are
possible within the watch area.
Interests elsewhere in the Carolinas and the mid-Atlantic coast
should monitor the progress of Elsa.
For storm information specific to your area in the United
States, including possible inland watches and warnings, please
monitor products issued by your local National Weather Service
forecast office. For storm information specific to your area
outside of the United States, please monitor products issued by
your national meteorological service.
DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK
At 200 PM EDT (1800 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Elsa was
located near latitude 25.4 North, longitude 83.0 West. Elsa is
moving toward the north near 9 mph (15 km/h) and a generally
northward motion is expected today and tonight. A turn toward the
north-northeast is expected on Wednesday, followed by a faster
northeastward motion by late Thursday. On the forecast track, Elsa
will move near or over portions of the west coast of Florida later
today through tonight. Elsa is forecast to make landfall along the
north Florida Gulf coast on Wednesday and then move across the
southeastern United States through Thursday.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 70 mph (110 km/h)
with higher gusts, and Elsa is forecast to become a hurricane
before making landfall. Weakening is forecast to begin after Elsa
moves inland by late Wednesday.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km)
from the center.
The minimum central pressure reported by an Air Force Hurricane
Hunter aircraft is 1000 mb (29.53 inches).
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
Key messages for Elsa can be found in the Tropical Cyclone
Discussion under AWIPS header MIATCDAT5, WMO header WTNT45 KNHC and
on the web at
WIND: Hurricane conditions are expected within the Hurricane
Warning area on the Florida Gulf coast beginning this evening.
Tropical storm conditions will continue over portions of the
warning area in the Florida Keys through this evening. Tropical
storm conditions are expected to spread northward into west-central
Florida and the Florida Big Bend region in the Tropical Storm
Warning area tonight and early Wednesday. Tropical storm
conditions are possible in the watch area in Georgia and South
Carolina Wednesday night and early Thursday.
STORM SURGE: 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
Aucilla River to Ochlockonee River...2 to 4 ft
Flamingo, FL to Bonita Beach, FL...1 to 3 ft
Craig Key, FL to Dry Tortugas...1 to 2 ft
Ochlockonee River to Indian Pass...1 to 2 ft
Mouth of St. Marys River to South Santee River, SC...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. For
information specific to your area, please see products issued by
your local National Weather Service forecast office.
RAINFALL: Across portions of Cuba through 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.
Elsa is expected to produce the following rainfall amounts and
impacts this week:
Across the Florida 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
Across the rest of Florida...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 portions of southeast Georgia and the Lowcountry of South
Carolina, 3 to 5 inches with isolated maximum totals up to 8 inches
will be possible, which may result in considerable flash and urban
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 today through tonight across
the Florida Peninsula. The tornado threat will continue on Wednesday
across north Florida, southeast Georgia, and the Lowcountry of
South Carolina. The tornado threat should shift to the eastern
Carolinas and far southeast Virginia on Thursday.
SURF: Swells will spread northward across portions of the Florida
Keys and the west coast of Florida through early Wednesday. These
swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current
conditions. Please consult products from your local weather office
for more details.