NewsWorldTropical Storm Elsa is heading towards the coast of...

Tropical Storm Elsa is heading towards the coast of Cuba with hurricane potential

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(CNN) – The tropical storm Elsa it approaches the southern coast of Cuba, where warm, shallow waters could help it intensify before making landfall.

Now with winds now 100 km / h, Elsa has moved westward, prompting governments to drop advisory for eastern Cuba and Jamaica, according to the National Hurricane Center. But now the Cuban provinces of Matanzas and Cienfuegos are under a hurricane warning, and a hurricane watch has been issued for the province of Camagüey.

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

The storm is expected to drop 5 to 25 centimeters of rain over much of western and central Cuba, with localized amounts of up to 15 inches possible. Storm surges of up to 1.5 meters and coastal flooding can be expected along the southern coast, but the amount will vary greatly depending on location, tide, and topography.

Cuba’s mountainous terrain puts the country at risk of landslides, but it also means that Elsa will likely weaken before leaving the region. Still, the storm is expected to hold up and head toward the Straits of Florida Monday night.

Jamaica is expected to see additional amounts of rain of 5 to 10 centimeters, bringing the total for the storm to 38 centimeters in some places. Flash floods and scattered landslides could be significant across the island. The Cayman Islands can expect up to 12 centimeters of rain, which could lead to flash flooding in some areas.

Authorities in Surfside, Florida, have been keeping a close eye on the storm as search and rescue teams search the rubble of a collapsed condo building for survivors and debris.

The part of the building that was still standing was demolished Sunday nightA move that was accelerated by fears that the storm could cause the wreckage to collapse and put rescue teams at risk.

Elsa’s Road to Florida

Surfside is now outside the forecast cone, so direct impacts other than some rain appear unlikely.

The storm will begin to change direction Tuesday, heading northeast toward the Florida peninsula. It may strengthen a bit as it hits the west coast of Florida with rain, heavy surf and possible tornadoes.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, the storm is set to head over the Pinellas Peninsula and impact the St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay region as a tropical storm. By Wednesday morning, Elsa is likely to finally make landfall on the Florida peninsula north of Tampa Bay, around Cedar Key.

Elsa will likely head to Georgia and the Carolinas before returning to the Atlantic as a tropical depression on Thursday afternoon.

Damages and deaths reported in the Caribbean

There were no losses of life or serious injuries in Barbados after Hurricane Elsa struck on Friday, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said at a news conference on Saturday.

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

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

Late on Saturday, the storm hit parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti with heavy rain and strong winds as its center passed 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 Bani, killing a 75-year-old, the COE reported.

CNN’s Jason Hanna, Alanne Orjoux, Haley Brink, and Alaa Elassar contributed to this report.

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