Elsa’s update: Florida braces for life-threatening storm surge ahead of tropical storm
It is expected to move near the west coast of Florida on Tuesday afternoon and overnight, and possibly make landfall by Wednesday morning along the northern Gulf Coast of Florida – and could turn into a hurricane before that. this date, forecasters said.
“The warm ocean waters give it that fuel to really restart the engine … (and) it could be near or hurricane-force” when Elsa makes landfall Wednesday morning, CNN meteorologist Derek Van said. Dam.
A tropical storm warning – alerting people to expect conditions such as winds of at least 39 mph – is in effect for much of Florida’s west coast.
But the main threats from wind and rain are expected to be in West Florida.
About 3 to 8 inches of rain could fall from the Florida Keys to the western Florida peninsula through Wednesday – threatening flash flooding, the hurricane center said.
Storm surge warnings are in place for the west coast of Florida from Bonita Beach through the northern parts of the Big Bend area, the strongest wave is expected to be between 3 and 5 feet from Englewood to the mouth of the Aucilla River – including Tampa La bay.
Isolated tornadoes are also possible.
Residents of southern and western Florida have prepared by filling sandbags, opening shelters, closing businesses and schools, and activating local emergency operations centers.
Cuba was receiving heavy rains Tuesday morning from Elsa. Rainfall of 5 to 15 inches is expected there through Tuesday evening, threatening major flash flooding and mudslides.
Residents and businesses are preparing
Authorities in Florida have offered free sandbags to residents to help prevent flooding and are encouraging people to prepare for the storm by stocking up on supplies and heeding local warnings.
At least four counties in the Tampa area – Hillsborough, Pinellas, Hernando and Manatee – have opened shelters for residents, while others have activated emergency operations centers to prepare for the storm.
“We have had other storms in the past that seemed like nothing, but they resulted in a lot of flood damage,” the emergency manager warned.
Tampa International Airport announced Tuesday that it will close commercial flights at 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday and freight flights at 10 p.m. ET. It was scheduled to reopen Wednesday at 10 a.m. ET.
People lined up in Manatee and Hillsborough counties on Monday to fill free sandbags to help prevent flooding.
“This is our first experience. We got the notification that we could get sandbags, and we’re right at the water’s edge, so we just want to do whatever we can at this point,” said wife.
Even some businesses close before the storm.
“As for the impact, I don’t think we’re going to have a major weather event,” Bowen said.
In Georgia and the Carolinas later this week
Current forecasts after making landfall in western Florida indicate the storm is moving northeast through the Georgia Lowlands, possibly as a tropical storm, Wednesday – and the Carolinas, perhaps. be like a tropical depression on Thursday.
It could be released in the Atlantic on Thursday or Friday. Elsa could then be a rainmaker for the far east coast until it sinks into the North Atlantic.
CNN’s Michael Guy and Tina Burnside contributed to this report.