And at least one boat overturned in the storm. On Monday night, a vessel carrying 22 people from Cuba capsized about 26 miles southeast of Key West, the Coast Guard said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that 13 people were rescued, with nine still missing.
“These ventures are dangerous and can often lead to casualties, especially during tropical storms,” said Cmdr. Jacob McMillan of the Coast Guard. “The seas are unpredictable and unforgiving.”
Elsa is the fifth named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. The first, Ana, formed on May 23, making this year the seventh in a row that a named storm developed in the Atlantic before the official start of the season on June 1.
The links between hurricanes and climate change are becoming more apparent. A warming planet can expect to experience stronger hurricanes over time, and a higher incidence of the most powerful storms — though the overall number of storms may drop, because factors like stronger wind shear might keep weaker storms from forming.
Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast that there would be 13 to 20 named storms this year, six to 10 of which would be hurricanes, and three to five major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher in the Atlantic. Last year, there were 30 named storms, including six major hurricanes, causing meteorologists to exhaust the alphabet for the second time and move to using Greek letters.
It was the highest number of storms on record, surpassing the 28 storms in 2005, and included the second-highest number of hurricanes on record.
Reporting was contributed by Ed Augustin, Johnny Diaz, Derrick Bryson Taylor, Daniel Victor, Chris Stanford, Eduardo Medina, Isabella Grullón Paz, Alyssa Lukpat, Jesus Jimenez, Mike Ives, and Today Paybarah.