Elsa gets more intense as she turns towards the Florida coast for Wednesday’s landing

A tropical cyclone Elsa struck Florida’s west coast on Tuesday, and forecasters warned that it could grow into a hurricane, even before it landed on the northern Gulf Coast at midnight.

According to the latest report, at 5 pm, Elsa blew a gust of wind at 70 mph and issued a hurricane warning from Tampa Bay to the Steinhatchie River in the state’s Big Bend region. National Hurricane Center update.

This is only 5 miles below the strength of a Category 1 hurricane. It can knock down trees, skip road signs, Damage unfixed mobile homes..

Many people in vulnerable Gulf Coast counties such as Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus, home to many retirees from the north, live in mobile homes.

Pedestrians drive through the intersection as Tropical Storm Elsa passes Key West, Florida on Tuesday.  (Rob O & # 39; Key West Citizen via Neal / AP)

Pedestrians drive through the intersection as Tropical Storm Elsa passes Key West, Florida on Tuesday. (The Key West Citizen via Rob O’Neal / AP)

Further south, officials in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties were already broken. Put out sandbags As a resident of St. Petersburg and Tampa flood-prone areas 2-4 feet storm surge.. And by 3:30 pm, there were already nearly 2,000 reports of power outages. Tampa Bay Times..

Hurricane monitors Florida’s west coast It is rare during July. Back in 2008, there is no other case of the National Weather Service in Tampa Bay, which published the Hurricane Watch in July.

But by sunrise on Tuesday, Elsa had hit the Florida Keys with strong tropical cyclone winds and torrential rains. Some of the best timed gusts included 62 mph at Key West and 64 mph at Sandkey.

By the morning, Elsa had reached a tropical cyclone of 60 mph and showed signs of intensification as it passed just west of Key West.

Hurricane hunters continued to monitor the growing storm. But, Mission postponed from Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi Due to local flash flood warnings and lightning.

Tropical Cyclone surveillance was added to parts of the Georgia and South Carolina coasts, including Savannah and Charleston, on Tuesday morning.

Storm surge warnings continued to be effective on parts of the Florida coast, including Tampa Bay.

After landing, Elsa was expected to weaken as it moved inland, but would bring strong winds and heavy rains to parts of Georgia, Carolina and Virginia.

Storm surge peaks were predicted to be 3 to 5 feet above normally dry ground, including Tampa Bay. Elsewhere above and below Florida’s west coast, it was possible from 1-3 feet to 2-4 feet.

Rainfall of 4 to 6 inches is expected to submerge a large area of ​​the region that spans Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, with up to 8 inches of rainfall in some isolated areas.

Up to five inches of rain can also fall in parts of North Carolina and Virginia, forecasters said.

And flood warnings had already been issued until Thursday prior to the downpour for the 12 million people living in areas most likely to be flooded.

Tornadoes could also occur on Tuesday in connection with Elsa in almost all of Florida.

Meteorological coincidence: The last tropical cyclone that landed on Florida’s west coast Eta Last November. Elsa follows a similar track, starting with the letter E.

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