JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Tropical Storm Elsa made landfall on the southern coast of Cuba early Monday afternoon. It was expected to drench the island — much as it had Jamaica — before moving on toward Florida’s Gulf Coast and beyond.
At 2 p.m., the National Hurricane Center said Tropical Storm Elsa was about 85 miles southeast of Havana and moving northwest at 14 mph. Maximum sustained winds were 60 mph — down 5 mph from the last morning advisory.
The Tropical Storm Warning along the west coast of Florida was extended north to the Suwannee River, including Tampa Bay. The Storm Surge Watch along the west coast of Florida has been extended north to the Ochlockonee River.
The storm has not seen any further drop in pressure that would indicate strengthening over the past 24 hours. Some slight weakening is likely as Elsa crosses west-central Cuba. Restrengthening over the Gulf of Mexico should be limited by unfavorable westerly shear.
The NHC track forecast was nudged slightly westward with the 11 am update. This track would suggest some minor impacts for Jacksonville, Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia late Tuesday into Wednesday.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency for Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota counties. President Joe Biden has declared a federal disaster order for the same 15 counties.
Elsa is the season’s fifth named storm and the first Atlantic hurricane of 2021.
Stay tuned to The Weather Authority so you won’t be caught by surprise when Elsa impacts our area on Tuesday and Wednesday.