Tropical Storm Elsa which Thursday morning formed Over the Atlantic, it’s moving rapidly toward the Caribbean, with southern Florida likely on its way, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Although it is too early to say what effects, if any, could occur in Florida next week, officials have encouraged residents to monitor the storm and make preparations.
This includes crews home in an apartment collapse in Surfside, Florida, where repeated bouts of lightning and thunderstorms have already put rescue efforts on hold. The National Weather Service said rain and thunderstorms are still in the forecast for the next several days at Surfside.
Elsa is expected to drift west-northwest over the open waters of the Caribbean Sea from Saturday to Monday, possibly entering the Gulf of Mexico around Tuesday.
AccuWeather meteorologists worry that Elsa will quickly strengthen into a hurricane as it approaches the Windward Islands. If it develops into a hurricane, Elsa will become the first of the 2021 season in the Atlantic. Heavy rains may cause sporadic floods and mudslides in the Caribbean.
The center of the storm was 680 miles east-southeast of the Windward Islands as of 11 a.m. EDT Thursday.
Maximum sustained winds increased to nearly 45 mph with higher gusts. Additional strength is expected over the next couple of days.
The hurricane center forecast winds of up to 65 miles per hour by Monday, a short distance from a Category 1 hurricane, which has winds of 74 to 95 miles per hour.
Elsa was moving west at 25 miles per hour. Faster movement to the west and northwest is expected in the next 24 to 36 hours. On the forecast track, the system will pass near or over parts of the Windward Islands or the southern Leeward Islands on Friday, move into the eastern Caribbean late Friday and Friday evening, and move near the southern coast of Hispaniola on Saturday.
Tropical storm warnings were issued for Barbados, Martinique, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. A tropical storm watch is in effect in Guadeloupe.
became an elsa Closest E-recorded storm, defeating Edward, who formed July 6, Elsa is the fifth tropical storm of the 2021 season in the Atlantic, after Anna, Bill, Claudette and Danny.
Contributing: The Associated Press