NewsWorldElsa weakens but a tropical storm watch is in...

Elsa weakens but a tropical storm watch is in effect in South Florida

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(CNN) – Tropical Storm Elsa has weakened and is moving slower this Sunday, as it moves away from Haiti towards Jamaica and Cuba, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), while a tropical storm watch is in. effect for the Florida Keys.

The NHC said that, at 5 a.m. ET, Elsa was moving west-northwest at 22.5 km / h with maximum sustained winds of 104.6 km / h. Its center was 137 km east of Kingston, Jamaica.

Late on Saturday, the storm hit parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti with heavy rain and winds as its center moved south.

Two people were killed in the Dominican Republic when Elsa struck the Caribbean island on Saturday, the country’s Emergency Operations Center (COE) said.

In separate incidents, strong winds caused walls to collapse in Bahoruco, killing a 15-year-old, and in Baní, killing a 75-year-old, the COE reported.

Elsa is moving very close to Jamaica and parts of eastern and central Cuba on Sunday, the NHC said, where tropical storm conditions are expected and hurricane conditions are possible later Sunday and into the evening.

Tropical Storm Elsa is approaching Cuba, so alerts and warnings have been established.

Tropical storm warning in Florida

The forecast is more uncertain for after Sunday, forecasters said, but Elsa could bring heavy rain and gusty winds to South Florida this week as a tropical storm – including the site of the Miami condo collapse.

The NHC issued a tropical storm watch late Saturday for the Florida Keys, from Craig Key westward to the Dry Tortugas. The alert means that tropical storm conditions, including sustained winds of at least 62.7 km / h, are possible within 48 hours.

By Monday, Elsa is expected to cross central and western Cuba and head toward the Straits of Florida. Tropical storm conditions are forecast in parts of the Keys and southwest Florida for Monday night. Elsa is expected to move near or over parts of Florida’s west coast on Tuesday and Wednesday.

It is possible that it will strengthen slightly on Sunday as Elsa passes through warmer waters and approaches the south-central coast of Cuba.

However, a gradual weakening is anticipated on Sunday night and Monday when Elsa passes through Cuba. After the storm passes through Cuba, it will move into the Straits of Florida, where slight reinforcement is possible as it moves through the warm Gulf Stream.

tropical storm Elsa

Tropical Storm Elsa will impact parts of Cuba and Jamaica on Sunday.

State of emergency for 15 Florida counties

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a state of emergency for 15 counties Saturday in the wake of Elsa’s arrival.

In addition, he encouraged residents to begin preparedness efforts, including stocking their disaster supply kits with a week’s supplies and devising a disaster plan.

“We are preparing for the risk of isolated tornadoes, storm surges, heavy rains and flash floods,” DeSantis said.

The state of emergency encompasses Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties.

What is expected

Elsa was a Category 1 hurricane on Friday and early Saturday, but downgraded to a tropical storm late on Saturday.

“A further decrease in forward speed is expected … on Sunday, followed by a turn to the northwest on Sunday night or Monday,” the NHC said.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the coast of Haiti north of Port-au-Prince; the southern coast of the Dominican Republic from Punta Palenque to the border with Haiti; 10 provinces in Cuba; and for Jamaica.

Heavy rains are expected in parts of the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica through Sunday, with 10 to 38 centimeters possible, which could lead to flash floods and landslides, according to the NHC.

The National Hurricane Center added that Elsa is expected to move near Jamaica and parts of eastern Cuba on Sunday. It is possible that it will rain between 13 and 38 centimeters in some parts of Cuba from Sunday until Monday.

Flash floods and landslides are possible in Cuba, especially in the more mountainous regions.

The Cayman Islands could also receive 8 to 13 centimeters of rain between Sunday and Monday, according to the NHC.

Barbados saw no loss of life or major injuries after Hurricane Elsa hit on Friday, according to Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, speaking at a news conference on Saturday.

“It could have been a lot worse, but it was bad, and certainly one of the most challenging events we have had to face in recent times with regard to the weather,” the prime minister said.

At least 743 rooftops were damaged by the storm, said Kerry Hinds, director of Barbados’ emergency management agency.

Roger Blackman, CEO of Barbados Light & Power Company, noted that electricity service had been fully restored for 65% of the island’s customers and that he expected 80% of customers to be available again in 48 hours.

Elsa’s trajectory to the US coast is less precise

According to the latest forecasts, Elsa could start bringing winds and rain to the Florida Keys and southwest Florida Monday night as a tropical storm. Then he could tour the west coast of Florida early next week.

The NHC forecasts that Elsa will bring 5 to 15 inches of rain to parts of the Florida Keys and southern Florida.

But even if the center of the storm was heading toward west Florida, the South East Florida community of Surfside, “there would still be some impacts, even if it’s just some of the outer bands” of rain and wind for the Tuesday or Wednesday, CNN meteorologist Tyler Mauldin said.

Elsa and the partially collapsed building in Miami

A team could demolish the remaining units of a partially collapsed condo building in Surfside, Miami, as early as this Sunday, authorities said, as Elsa approaches Florida.

Otherwise, Elsa’s winds could unsafe toppling the structure, authorities added.

The US Coast Guard established the X-Ray Port Condition for the ports of Key West and Miami as Elsa approaches the Florida Peninsula, according to a Coast Guard press release.

This condition means that sustained winds of between 63 and 117 km / h are expected within 48 hours, and that ships and port facilities must initiate a series of preparations that are detailed in federal regulations.

The ports remain open to commercial traffic, but the Coast Guard warned that “the drawbridges will not be able to function if sustained winds reach 40 km / h or when there is an evacuation in progress.”

Elsa was the first hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic season, and the third named storm to pose a threat to the US coastline.

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