hits Florida and keeps the US on alert

Marina Fernandez 9 min
Hurricane Elsa Tropical storm
Elsa affecting the west coast of the Florida peninsula in the early morning of July 7. Satellite image: NOAA / NESDIS / GOES

At the time of writing this report Elsa is a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 100 km / h and higher gusts. According to the latest bulletin (number 29), available from National Hurricane Center (NHC), moving north at 22 km / h over sea, almost parallel to the west coast of the Peninsula Florida, being located at the moment to 115 km to the west-northwest of Tampa, and to 75 km to the south-southwest of Cedar Key, Florida. Its central pressure is 1004 hPa, and winds with tropical storm intensity extend up to 150 km from its center.

Elsa Hurricane Tropical Storm
GOES satellite, infrared channel with the path traveled by Elsa so far, and the projection of her trajectory for the next few days. Image via Meteored Argentina.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, July 6, Elsa managed to re-intensify, becoming a category 1 hurricane, as it was when crossing the eastern Caribbean Sea days ago. At 6 UTC on July 7, Elsa weakened again and has been a tropical storm since then, while the cloud bands of the system leave heavy rains and gusty winds over southwest and central west Florida.

Next Steps of Storm Elsa

According to projections issued by the NHC on its future trajectory, Elsa will move north on the morning of Wednesday, July 7, parallel to the west coast line of the Florida Peninsula. It is expected to make landfall between late this morning and late Wednesday afternoon, along Florida’s northern Gulf Coast.. The system will turn to the north-northeast, followed by a faster movement to the northeast on Thursday night, while traverses the southeastern United States.

Elsa NHC Hurricane USA tropical storm
Possible forecast path of Hurricane Elsa for the next five days, affecting not only the Florida Peninsula, but the southeastern and eastern US Image: NHC.

Before the center of the system makes landfall, some fluctuations in maximum wind intensity cannot be ruled out. Then a classic weakening in the winds of Elsa is expected, as soon as it begins to travel inland.

Alerts current at the time

Rich storm surge alert for the west coast of Florida, from Bonita Beach to the Aucilla River (including Tampa Bay); this Hurricane Watch still in effect for the west coast of Florida from Chassahowitzka to the Steinhatchee River. There is also warning for winds with intensity of tropical storm for the west coast of Florida, from south of Chassahowitzka to Englewood, and north of the Steinhatchee River to the Ochlockonee River. Also included under this alert is the section from the mouth of the St. Marys River, in the state of Georgia, to Little River Inlet, in South Carolina.

Florida won’t be the only state to feel the passing of Storm Elsa.

In addition, a tropical storm watch is in effect north of Little River Inlet in South Carolina, to Chincoteague in Virgia state, Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds. At the same time the NHC announces that: “interests in other parts of the Carolinas, the mid-Atlantic coast, southeastern New England, and the Canadian maritime, they will need to be monitored as Elsa progresses. “

Expected phenomena

Let us remember that the alerts (or warnings) and the surveillance detailed above, imply winds with strong and occasionally destructive gusts, in all listed areas. Hurricane conditions are still possible in the regions under alert reported by the NHC, during this Wednesday morning.

It is expected that tropical storm conditions extend north through the western Florida Peninsula into the region of Big Bend, Florida, in the warning area. In addition, tropical storm conditions are expected throughout the Georgia state coast, late today or tonight, while for the coast of South Carolina They would appear between tonight and early Thursday morning. Tropical storm conditions are possible in the watch area in the mid-Atlantic states between Thursday night and Friday.

The storm surge caused by the force of the wind on the water surface against the coastal areas, combined with the normal astronomical tide, will cause the normally dry areas near the the coast is flooded, due to the increase in the level of the waters that move inland from the coast. The water could reach on the west coast of Florida, heights between 0.6 m y 1.5 m. Also at the mouth of the St. Marys River to the South Santee River in South Carolina, swells of up to 0.6 m are expected.

Regarding the rains, Elsa is expected to impact along the western and northern portions of the Florida Peninsula, with localized maxima of hasta 230 mm., which can result in significant flash and urban flooding, With river floods minor to moderate isolated.

Florida won’t be the only state to feel the storm’s passing Elsa with her abundant rains. In part of southeast of Georgia and Lowcountry of Carolina del Sur, maximums are expected that could reach exceed 150 mm of accumulated rain, while in sectors coastal of North Carolina to him southeast of virginia Rains are also expected, and can reach up to 130 mm accumulated, from now until Thursday night. These heavy rains can leave significant urban and flash flooding. In addition, throughout the Northeast and New England can be registered peaks up to 130 mm between Thursday and Friday, which could lead to isolated flash and urban flooding.

The presence of strong storms with tornadic activity are likely in this type of situation, the tornado threat associated with Elsa’s passing may occur in parts of northern Florida, southeastern Georgia, and the Lowcountry of South Carolina. This hazard will then move into the eastern Carolinas and extreme southeastern Virginia on Thursday.


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