After becoming the first hurricane of 2021 on Friday, Elsa has raged on as a tropical storm ahead of making landfall in Cuba on Monday.
Current forecasts have her remaining a tropical storm right up to landfall Wednesday on the Gulf Coast of Florida, with eastern North Carolina and the Outer Banks in line to at least some heavy downpours and gusty winds on Thursday.
“Elsa will be moving quite quickly, and should clear the region by Thursday evening,” according to forecasters at the Newport/Morehead City office of the National Weather Service.
“While no specific wind speeds or rain amounts can be forecast yet, there is a threat for some tropical storm force wind gusts, along with periods of heavy rain and flash flooding. Depending on the exact track, isolated severe storms are possible, including tornadoes. Large breaking waves and strong rip currents are also a threat.”
Elsa became a tropical storm on July 1, the earliest ever for the fifth named tropical cyclone of the year to form in the Atlantic, breaking the record set in 2020 by Eduardo.
Heavy rain will impact the Cayman Islands and Cuba today resulting in significant flooding and mudslides over Cuba. As Elsa approaches the Florida Keys, Florida Peninsula, and coastal Georgia Monday through Wednesday, heavy rainfall may result in isolated flash, urban, and minor river flooding.
Tropical storm conditions and a dangerous storm surge are expected to continue across portions of central and western Cuba today. Hurricane conditions are also possible along the south coast this morning.
Tropical storm conditions are expected in portions of the Florida Keys and southwestern Florida tonight and Tuesday, where a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect. A Tropical Storm Watch and a Storm Surge Watch are in effect for much of the west coast of Florida.
National Weather Service forecast for Nags Head, as of Monday 9 a.m.: