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Elsa expected to exit South Georgia Wednesday night

Tropical Storm Elsa - 5 p.m. Wednesday advisory
Tropical Storm Elsa - 5 p.m. Wednesday advisory(WCTV Pinpoint Weather)
Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 6:33 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 7, 2021 at 5:48 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Tropical Storm Elsa started to show more of a eastward nudge in movement as it brought trees down, knocked out power for some and brought Flooding to portions of the Big Bend and South Georgia Wednesday.

The center of Elsa was 115 miles west-southwest of Brunswick, Ga. according to the 5 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center. The storm was moving just east of north (10-degree bearing) at 14 mph. Maximum sustained winds decreased to 45 mph with a minimum central pressure of 1003 millibars, and weakening in storm intensity is forecast to continue since it lost its ocean fuel source.

Tropical storm warnings along the Florida Gulf Coast have been discontinued, the National Hurricane Center said in their advisory, but flash flood warnings remained in effect for portions of Madison, Lowndes and Lanier counties until later Monday evening.

There were multiple reports of Flooding out of Lowndes county while wind damage reports mainly came from Madison County. Some locations in southern Lowndes county received, based on Doppler radar estimates, as much as 9 inches of rain in a 12-hour period.

Moody Air Force Base Doppler radar showed the heavy rain around Elsa’s center of circulation over portions of Clinch and Echols counties as of 5:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Elsa is forecast to move out of the viewing area later Wednesday evening and into the night, bringing with it the heavy rain, gusty wind and tornado threat.

With high atmospheric moisture content still hanging around the area, rain chances will remain elevated at 60% Thursday with highs from the mid 80s on the coast to near 90 inland. Despite Elsa’s departure, the rip current risk will remain high along the Franklin County coastline Wednesday and Thursday.

Rain chances will drop to between 40% and 50% Saturday and Sunday with highs near 90.

As of Wednesday evening, no tropical development is expected elsewhere in the Atlantic basin over the next two to five days.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Tropical Storm Elsa made landfall on the Taylor County coast Wednesday morning as it brought heavy rain, high winds, and a few tornado warnings.

Elsa was located 105 miles west of Jacksonville as of the 2 p.m. intermediate advisory from the National Hurricane Center. The maximum sustained winds decreased to 50 mph with higher gusts as it moved due-north at 14 mph. The minimum central pressure increased to 1002 millibars.

Rain bands continued to spiral around Elsa late Wednesday morning with the longest one extending from Gadsden County eastward to northern Clinch County and moving, overall, northerly, based on radar scans as of 10:45 a.m. The core of Elsa, located over extreme eastern Taylor County as well as northern Dixie and Lafayette counties, was brining heavy rain and likely gusty winds as it moved northerly.

The threat of tornadoes was also in place for the eastern Big Bend and South-Central South Georgia counties. A tornado watch was in effect until 8 p.m. for Clinch, Echols and Hamilton counties. A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes and to be on the lookout for any possible warnings.

The high rainfall amounts near Elsa’s core prompted the issuance of a Flash Flood Warning for portions of Taylor and Dixie counties - including Steinhatchee- where over 2 inches of rain fell within one hour, according to the National Weather Service. The warning was set to expire at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday. Meteorologist Hannah Messier, who was in Steinhatchee late Wednesday morning, spotted a flooded road at 1st Avenue and 8th Street in Steinhatchee. If you encounter flooded streets, remember: Turn around, don’t drown.

Storm surge is still a hazard of concern, according to NHC, with 2 to 4 feet of peak surge possible between the Aucilla River south to Aripeka (near the Pasco and Hernando County border in West Central Florida). Maximum storm surge potential of 1 to 3 feet is also possible between the Aucilla River and the Ochlockonee River.

Elsa is forecast to continue a northerly and a north-northeasterly track over the eastern Big Bend for the rest of Wednesday as the storm moves around the northwestern side of a ridge of high pressure centered in the Atlantic Ocean. Guidance models are hinting at Elsa’s center being over the extreme eastern counties in the viewing area between mid-afternoon and early evening before accelerating northeastward into southeastern Georgia and into the Carolinas.

The threat of tornadoes, the heaviest rainfall and higher winds will be confined to the eastern half of Elsa; therefore, the greatest impacts will range from far eastern Taylor County and points east to include locations like Madison, Jasper, Live Oak, Mayo, O’Brien, Statenville, Fargo, Jennings and Homerville.

Those west of the center of Elsa will still see the chance of heavy rain as some of the rain bands wrap around the tropical storm, but will not be as impactful as those east of Elsa.

The Pinpoint Weather Team will continue to monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Elsa.

Stay up to date on all activity in the tropics by downloading the WCTV Weather App:

This story was updated to reflect the 2 p.m. advisory and add the new updated tornado watch.

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WCTV) - Elsa, though weaker than 12 hours prior, was moving close to the coastline Wednesday morning.

Elsa’s maximum sustained winds decreased earlier Wednesday morning, and maintained tropical-storm-status as of the 5 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center. Maximum sustained winds were at 65 mph with a minimum central pressure of 1004 millibars according to the 5 a.m. advisory. The storm was moving due-north at 14 mph and the center was 50 miles south-southwest of Cedar Key in coastal Levy County.

Elsa underwent rapid deterioration Tuesday evening off of the Tampa Bay coastline not long after reaching hurricane status.

“This decrease was likely caused by a combination of shear and dry air entrainment, and it has caused the cyclone to weaken,” the National Hurricane Center said in their 5 a.m. Wednesday discussion.

But the storm showed signs of an attempt to get some life back before landfall. Infrared satellite imagery showed a burst of convection near the center of circulation starting just before 4 a.m. and continued since with colder cloud tops showing up near the Dixie County coast as of 6:30 a.m. There is a slight possibility of Elsa gaining some strength before landfall, but that opportunity was closing rapidly as it neared the coast.

The northern side of Elsa’s center of circulation was showing up on the Tallahassee radar as of 6:30 a.m. just southwest of Cedar Key with the band of rain approaching Suwannee and Cedar Key. The Tallahassee radar was picking up winds of nearly 70 mph at 10,000 feet above sea level (the wind will be lower at the surface, but some of that could make it to the surface). A rain band to the north was already impacting the eastern Big Bend counties with rain from Jefferson County east along I-10 to near Jacksonville. A heavier rain band stretched from near Mayo to Gainesville where one area of rotation prompted a tornado warning for northern Alachua County (the warning already expired as of 6:30 a.m.).

The radar image of Tropical Storm Elsa along with the center of the storm drawn as of 6:44 a.m....
The radar image of Tropical Storm Elsa along with the center of the storm drawn as of 6:44 a.m. Wednesday, July 7, 2021.(RadarScope)

Based on the trajectory on radar, it could make landfall in Dixie County or southern Taylor County later this morning. The official forecast has the storm making a north-northeast track after landfall as it moves around the northwestern side of a ridge of high pressure.

The greater impacts from Elsa will be to the right of the center of circulation where the stronger winds, heavy rain, storm surge, and tornado threat will be. Rainfall totals of 3 to 4 inches with isolated higher amounts are possible in the Big Bend and South-Central Georgia. A maximum storm surge of 3 to 5 feet east of the Aucilla River is still possible. Winds and wind gusts of tropical-storm-force are a good possibility with some of the stronger rain bands and as the center with its convection move inland later Wednesday morning.

Stay tuned to the WCTV Pinpoint Weather Team throughout Wednesday for the latest on Tropical Storm Elsa.

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WCTV) - Hurricane Elsa was 65 miles southwest of Tampa, Florida, with sustained winds of 75, according to the 11 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center. The storm is moving to the north at 14 mph. Convection around the storm’s center weakened and became malformed Tuesday evening as Elsa slowly moved to the north.

Hurricane Elsa
Hurricane Elsa(WCTV Pinpoint Weather)

Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for Lowndes, Brooks, Echols, Clinch, Dixie, Taylor, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, and Suwannee counties, and coastal Wakulla County. Tropical-storm-force winds are possible in those counties. Storm Surge Watches are in effect for Wakulla and Jefferson Counties, where 2-4 ft. storm surge is possible. Storm Surge Warnings are in effect for Dixie and Taylor Counties, where 3-5 ft. storm surge is possible.

Hurricane Elsa is forecasted to continue towards Tampa Bay over the next few hours before potentially continuing north Tuesday night. Elsa is expected to weaken into a tropical storm before making landfall on Wednesday morning into Wednesday afternoon by Cedar Key in Levy County. The storm is then expected to weaken further and continue to the north through the southeastern Big Bend and southeastern Georgia Wednesday afternoon and into Wednesday evening. The NHC predicts that Elsa will reach South Carolina by Thursday morning.

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WCTV) - Hurricane Elsa was 100 miles SW of Tampa, Florida, with sustained winds of 75 mph, according to the 8 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center. The storm is moving to the north at 14 mph. Elsa’s winds increased to 75 mph, upgrading the storm to a Category One Hurricane. The pressure has also dropped to 996 millibars. Air Force Hurricane Hunter Aircraft are still investigating the storm this evening. A weak eye has started to appear based on Tampa Bay’s radar.

Hurricane Elsa
Hurricane Elsa(WCTV Pinpoint Weather)

Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for Lowndes, Brooks, Echols, Clinch, Dixie, Taylor, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, and Suwannee counties, and coastal Wakulla County. Storm Surge Watches are in effect for Wakulla and Jefferson Counties, where 2-4 ft. storm surge is possible. Storm Surge Warnings are in effect for Dixie and Taylor Counties, where 3-5 ft. storm surge is possible.

Elsa’s track did not change with the latest Advisory. Elsa is forecasted to continue towards Tampa Bay as a category one hurricane overnight before potentially moving north towards Cedar Key on Wednesday morning and into Wednesday afternoon. After making landfall, the storm could weaken back into a tropical storm and continue to the northeast into the southeastern Big Bend and southeastern Georgia Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday evening. Elsa is then forecasted to move through eastern Georgia and into South Carolina late Wednesday night. This forecast could still change, so continue to check back for updates.

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WCTV) - Tropical Storm Elsa was 155 miles south-southwest of Tampa, Florida, with sustained winds of 70 mph according to the 5 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

The storm is moving to the north at 10 mph with a pressure of 998 millibars. Air Force Hurricane Hunter Aircraft recorded maximum wind speeds near 60 knots this afternoon. The storm’s winds haven’t changed since the 2 p.m. advisory. However, the pressure has dropped slightly. Convection continued to develop to the northeast of the center, but wind shear and dry air prevented storms from developing on the storm’s western side.

Tropical Storm Elsa
Tropical Storm Elsa(WCTV Pinpoint Weather)
Tropical Storm Elsa
Tropical Storm Elsa(WCTV Pinpoint Weather)

Tropical Storm Warnings have been extended into southeastern Georgia, including Lowndes, Brooks, Echols, and Clinch Counties. Other counties currently under Tropical Storm Warnings are Dixie, Taylor, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, and Suwannee counties, and coastal Wakulla County. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for coastal Dixie County. Storm Surge Warnings have been issued for Taylor and Dixie Counties, where 3-5 ft. of storm surge is possible. Storm Surge Watches are in effect for Wakulla and Jefferson Counties, where 2-4 ft. of storm surge is forecasted. Franklin County could see 1-2 ft. of storm surge.

In the official track from the National Hurricane Center, Elsa is forecasted to strengthen into a category one hurricane tonight as the storm passes by Tampa. The storm is then expected to continue north, making landfall around Cedar Key as a category one hurricane. Afterward, the storm is forecasted to weaken into a tropical storm as it moves inland, potentially through the southeastern Big Bend and southeastern Georgia. Elsa’s forecast then continues towards the Georgia and South Carolina border as a weak tropical storm. This forecast could still change, so it’s important to check the forecast for updates.

There is currently a mandatory evacuation for coastal and low-lying areas in Taylor County. It is important to obey government officials and emergency managers when they issue orders concerning Tropical Storm Elsa.

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WCTV) - Data from Hurricane Hunters found a lower central pressure and higher sustained winds for Tropical Storm Elsa, prompting an update to the wind speed as well as the issuance of hurricane warnings Tuesday afternoon.

Elsa’s maximum sustained winds increased to 70 mph with a minimum central pressure of 1000 millibars, according to the 2 p.m. intermediate advisory from the National Hurricane Center. The center of Elsa was located 95 miles northwest of Key West or 180 miles south of Tampa as it moved due north at a slower 9 mph.

The updated official forecast has Elsa becoming a Category 1 hurricane by Tuesday evening and making landfall in West Central Florida either later Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. Elsa will be very close to the West Central Florida coastline until it makes landfall and moves through northern Florida on Wednesday.

Hurricane warnings were also added for Egmont Key north to the Steinhatchee River.

We will continue to monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Elsa. The next full advisory is set to be released at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Stay up to date on all activity in the tropics by downloading the WCTV Weather App:

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WCTV) - Tropical Storm Elsa continued to struggle to become better organized Tuesday morning as it traveled just west of Key West.

The center of Elsa was located 65 west-northwest miles of Key West as it moved north-northwest at a slower 10 mph according to the 11 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center. Maximum sustained winds were at 60 mph with a minimum central pressure of 1007 millibars. Elsa’s strongest winds were located on the eastern side of the storm where the convection and rain were located, and weather observations from near the Keys have indicated that.

“A C-MAN station at Sand Key, Florida, recently measured a peak 1-minute sustained wind of 56 mph gusting to 64 mph,” according to the National Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. advisory. “The Key West International Airport also recently measured a peak sustained wind of 43 mph gusting to 59 mph.

The tropical storm watch from the Ochlockonee River to Indian Pass was discontinued as of the 11 a.m. advisory.

A hurricane watch was issued earlier Tuesday morning for parts of the West Central Florida and Big Bend coast from Egmont Key to the Steinhatchee River. A hurricane watch means said conditions are possible within 48 hours. Tropical storm warnings were still in effect from the Ochlockonee River southward to Flamingo in Florida while a storm surge warning was in effect from Bonita Beach to the Aucilla River, including Tampa Bay according to the National Hurricane Center. Also, a storm surge watch was still in place from west of the Aucilla River to the Ochlockonee River.

A burst of convection occurred close to the center of Elsa after 8 a.m. based on satellite imagery, hinting that the tropical storm was trying to intensify. But with a trough of low pressure beginning to show up and dig through the Southeast based on water vapor imagery, wind shear will become more of a problem for Elsa as it moves northerly Tuesday and beyond.

As Elsa approached the Florida coastline, the cone of uncertainty continued to shrink in northern Florida and South Georgia. The 11 a.m. advisory showed the cone ranging from Taylor County south to near Englewood. The official forecast also has maximum sustained winds at 70 mph at 8 a.m. Wednesday just off of the West Central Florida coast, or just inland.

Elsa’s center continued to track east of the ensemble member average of the American GFS and European models while it seems to be closer to the HWRF model in recent runs. It’s important to note that the main impacts from Elsa will be on the eastern half of the storm - including the heavier rain, stronger wind, and storm surge. Any deviations in the track east or west would change the impacts in the Big Bend and South Georgia.

Tropical Storm Elsa Impacts as of 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 6. This is subject to change based on...
Tropical Storm Elsa Impacts as of 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 6. This is subject to change based on the track and intensity of the storm.(Charles Roop / WCTV Pinpoint Weather)

As of this update, 2 to 4 inches of rain can be expected near and east of the Aucilla River with isolated higher amounts.

Coastal flooding will also be a concern with 2 to 4 feet possible at the most, and that will be east of the center of circulation and in the eastern Big Bend coast.

Higher winds will begin to arrive with the rain bands as soon as Tuesday night as Elsa gets closer to the viewing area. Wind gusts of 40-50 mph are possible closer to I-75.

Stay tuned for the latest on Tropical Storm Elsa.

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WCTV) - Tropical Storm Elsa, with a bit of an elongated appearance on infrared satellite imagery, was slowly moving near the Florida Straits early Tuesday morning with an aim at the Sunshine State.

The center of Elsa was located 55 miles west of Key West as it moved north-northwest at 12 mph according to the 8 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center. Maximum sustained winds were at 60 mph with a minimum central pressure of 1007 millibars. A slow strengthening of Elsa was possible through Tuesday night.

A hurricane watch was issued for parts of the West Central Florida and Big Bend coast from Egmont Key to the Steinhatchee River. A hurricane watch means said conditions are possible within 48 hours.

Tropical storm warnings were still in effect from the Ochlockonee River southward to Flamingo in Florida while a storm surge warning was in effect from Bonita Beach to the Aucilla River, including Tampa Bay according to the National Hurricane Center. Also, a storm surge watch was still in place from west of the Aucilla River to the Ochlockonee River.

The storm remained disorganized as it moved northward Tuesday morning with an elongated and lopsided appearance on satellite imagery. The majority of the showers and thunderstorms were on the eastern-half of the storm.

Heavy rain and squally weather was already in the Florida Keys Tuesday morning with a recorded wind gust of 36 mph at a WeatherSTEM station in Key West as of 6:30 a.m.

The official forecast track has Elsa continuing a northerly trek into the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday with the cone of uncertainty tighter than Monday, and ranged between Apalachee Bay and near Sarasota. The National Hurricane Center’s forecast path was slightly right (east) of the American GFS and European model operational and ensemble average with the forecast path being more in line with the HWRF (though the latest run was more east) and the HRRR models.

A farther right track would be a lower risk of impacts for most (not all) of the Big Bend and South Georgia. But a path more to the east does bring heavy rain to parts of the area with a stronger wind potential as one gets closer to the I-75 corridor. Conditions are forecast to deteriorate in Apalachee Bay and the Southeast Big Bend as soon as Tuesday night and northward into the eastern Big Bend and locations near I-75 in South Georgia Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. Of course, any east or west deviation in the path can change the impacts in a given area.

Besides tropical-storm-force gusts (at least), there will be other hazards from Tropical Storm Elsa.

“A storm surge of around 2 to 4 feet is forecast across coastal areas from Ochlocknee River to Aucilla River and 3 to 5 feet eastward to the Suwannee River,” the National Weather Service said in a statement Tuesday morning. “These values remain heavily dependent on any track and intensity changes.”

Rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches with isolated higher amounts of 5 to 6 inches is also possible, the National Weather Service said. An isolated tornado threat is also possible in the eastern Big Bend and portions of South Georgia near I-75 on Wednesday as the center of Elsa gets closer to the area and moves out later on Wednesday.

Those in the eastern-half of the viewing area should prepare for a potential to lose electricity for an extended period of time.

The Pinpoint Weather Team will continue to provide updates on air and online as Elsa gets closer to the viewing area.

This story was updated to add information from the 8 a.m. intermediate advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WCTV) - Tropical Storm Elsa was 20 miles north northeast of Havana, Cuba, with sustained winds of 60 mph according to the 11 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center. The storm is moving to the north northwest at 12 mph. Based on satellite and radar imagery, Elsa’s center has moved to the north of Cuba, back over water.

Tropical Storm Elsa
Tropical Storm Elsa(WCTV Pinpoint Weather)

Watches and warnings over the Big Bend and South Georgia did not change with the 11 p.m. advisory. A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for Taylor and Dixie counties with 3-5 ft. storm surge possible. A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for Wakulla and Jefferson counties with 2-4 ft. storm surge possible. 1-2 ft. of storm surge is possible in Franklin County. Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for coastal Wakulla, Jefferson, Taylor, and Dixie counties. Tropical Storm Warnings are also in effect for the entirety of Dixie and Taylor counties. Tropical Storm Watches are in effect for coastal Franklin County, Jefferson, Madison, Lowndes, Brooks, Echols, Suwannee, and Lafayette counties. These watches do not guarantee storm surge and tropical storm conditions. However, they mean storm surge and tropical storm conditions are possible within the next two days. Tropical Storm and Storm Surge Warnings mean tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within those areas.

Tropical Storm Elsa
Tropical Storm Elsa(WCTV Pinpoint Weather)
Tropical Storm Elsa
Tropical Storm Elsa(WCTV Pinpoint Weather)
Tropical Storm Elsa
Tropical Storm Elsa(WCTV Pinpoint Weather)

The latest advisory didn’t change the official track didn’t change much. However, Elsa was slightly to the east after emerging from Cuba’s coast compared to the forecast. Therefore, the forecast has been shifted slightly to the east. The track still expects Tropical Storm Elsa to move towards the Florida Keys Monday night, potentially reaching Tampa Bay Tuesday night with sustained winds of 65 mph. The NHC predicts that Elsa may head towards the southeastern Big Bend on Wednesday morning and continue towards southeastern Georgia Wednesday afternoon. Afterward, the storm is forecast to continue to the northeast, reaching the Georgia, South Carolina border on Wednesday night as a tropical depression. This forecast could still change over the next several days. Therefore, it’s important to check back for updates.

Preparing tropical storm and plans and kits is a good idea over the next several days. The WCTV Hurricane Guide has information on ways to prepare ahead of the storm. It’s also important to obey government officials and emergency managers.

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WCTV) - Tropical Storm Elsa was 45 miles southeast of Havana, Cuba, with sustained winds of 50 mph, according to the 5 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

The storm was moving to the northwest at 14 mph. Elsa still appears to be fairly disorganized on satellite. Elsa’s center is still overland with convection to the south of the center over water and to the north over Cuba. Radar shows heavy rain falling over Cuba.

Tropical Storm Elsa
Tropical Storm Elsa(Tropical Storm Elsa)

Watches and Warnings have changed across the Big Bend with the latest advisory. Tropical Storm Warnings have been issued for coastal Dixie, Taylor, and Wakulla counties. The entirety of Taylor and Dixie counties are now under Tropical Storm Warnings. Tropical Storm Watches have been extended to coastal Franklin county. Inland, Tropical Storm Watches have been issued for Brooks, Lowndes, Suwannee, Hamilton, Echols, Jefferson, Lafayette, and Madison counties.

Storm Surge Warnings are in effect for coastal Dixie and Taylor counties. Storm surge of 3-5 feet is possible along coastal Dixie and Taylor counties. Storm Surge Watches are in effect for coastal Jefferson and Wakulla counties, where 2-4 feet of storm surge is possible. 1-2 feet of storm surge is possible in Franklin county as well. These watches do not guarantee storm surge and tropical storm conditions. However, they mean storm surge and tropical storm conditions are possible within the next two days. Tropical Storm and Storm Surge Warnings mean tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within those areas.

Tropical Storm Elsa
Tropical Storm Elsa(WCTV Pinpoint Weather)
Tropical Storm Elsa
Tropical Storm Elsa(WCTV Pinpoint Weather)
Tropical Storm Elsa
Tropical Storm Elsa(WCTV Pinpoint Weather)

This advisory did not change the official track forecast. Elsa is forecasted to move past Cuba tonight and turn north into the eastern Gulf of Mexico by Tuesday afternoon as a tropical storm. The NHC projects that Elsa will be off the coast of Tampa Bay Tuesday night. Elsa could make landfall as a tropical storm in the southeastern Big Bend Wednesday morning and continue through the eastern Big Bend and southeastern Georgia Wednesday afternoon. Elsa is projected to weaken into a tropical depression on the Georgia and South Carolina border before continuing northeast into North Carolina, emerging into the Atlantic on Thursday afternoon. It is important to note that the forecast could still change.

Preparing for tropical storm conditions by putting together a kit and making a plan is a good idea over the next several days. It’s also important to listen and obey government officials and emergency managers as Elsa continues towards the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WCTV) - Tropical Storm watches have been extended farther west to cover the entire Big Bend coastline as Elsa remained south of the Cuban coastline late Monday morning.

The center of Tropical Storm Elsa was located 20 miles east-southeast of Cayo Largo, Cuba according to the National Hurricane Center’s Monday 11 a.m. advisory. The storm was moving northwest at 14 mph with maximum sustained winds at 65 mph. The last center fix from Hurricane Hunters appeared to shift the storm more west than northwest. The minimum central pressure was at 1006 millibars.

Elsa appeared to continue its struggle to get organized late Monday morning. Though outflow aloft looked impressive and ocean heat content remained elevated, it’s likely interaction with Cuba was keeping it from gathering intensity. Hurricane Hunters found that the storm’s center remained decoupled with an “eastward tilt of the center with height, so the storm continues to have some vertical alignment issues,” according to their 11 a.m. discussion.

A tropical storm watch was extended westward with the 11 a.m. advisory. The updated watch included the entire Big Bend coastline from Indian Pass eastward to north of the Suwanee River, according to the National Hurricane Center. Watches were also extended inland to include Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Lafayette and Lowndes counties. A tropical storm watch means that said conditions are possible within the watch area. Those in the watch should pay attention to forecasts and prepare for the possibility of tropical storm conditions if a warning is issued.

A storm surge watch was also issued for Florida’s west coast and Big Bend from Bonita Beach to the Ochlockonee River. This includes Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties.

“A Storm Surge Watch means life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, is possible somewhere within this area within the next 48 hours,” the National Weather Service said in a statement.

The cone of uncertainty remained the same as the previous advisory, but it’s important to note that changes in the specific track can alter what type of impacts one can experience. For instance, if Elsa tracks farther east (e.g. Tampa), the storm surge would be less of a concern in the Big Bend.

Ensemble members from the American GFS and European models have the storm’s path range from Pensacola to Tampa Bay.

With Elsa likely be sheared and lopsided, most of the rain and thunderstorm activity will be on the eastern side, meaning eastern portions of the viewing area could see the full force of Elsa’s heavy rain, strong wind, potential storm surge. Coastal flooding of 1 to 4 feet is possible across parts of Apalachee Bay and the Big Bend coast but that will depend on the exact track of Elsa. Rainfall of 1 to 4 inches with locally higher amounts is also possible.

Also, tropical-storm-force wind gusts will be possible across the Southeast Big Bend, according to the National Weather Service, which would cause power outages and downed trees. Wind gusts could be as high as 50 mph along the Taylor County coast, but gusts would be lower as one travels northeast. Those in that area should ensure they have enough batteries on hand and that wireless devices are plugged in until power is lost.

There is also a concern of tropical-cyclone-induced tornadoes as Elsa gets closer on Tuesday. The Storm Prediction Center placed portions of Taylor, Lafayette, and Suwannee counties under a level-1 risk of severe weather for Tuesday with tornadoes being the primary threat.

This story was updated to add a video update from Meteorologist Rob Nucatola.

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WCTV) - As Elsa approached the Cuban coast, new tropical storm watches were issued Monday morning.

A tropical storm watch was issued for the west coast of Florida from Englewood (southwestern Florida) northward to the Aucilla River (the Jefferson and Taylor County border). A tropical storm watch means that said conditions are possible within the watch area. Those in the watch should pay attention to forecasts and prepare for the possibility of tropical storm conditions if a warning is issued.

Tropical storm watches were issued for portions of the Big Bend coastline Monday morning as...
Tropical storm watches were issued for portions of the Big Bend coastline Monday morning as Tropical Storm Elsa moved closer to Cuba and threatened the Sunshine State.(WCTV Pinpoint Weather)

Elsa was centered 110 miles east-southeast of Cayo Largo, Cuba as of the 5 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center. The tropical storm was moving northwest at 14 mph with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph - a slight jump in wind from Sunday evening. The minimum central pressure decreased from Sunday evening’s readings down to 1004 millibars.

A NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft was en route to the storm as of 6:30 a.m. Monday, and a better idea of how Elsa was behaving should be obtained later Monday morning.

Elsa’s center appeared to have more convection developing around it based on infrared satellite imagery Monday morning. Radar imagery from Cuba’s Institute of Meteorology showed a likely center just offshore of Cienfuegos with the rain mainly on the eastern side of Elsa. The storm has also maintained good banding, indicating high pressure aloft to supply Elsa with good ventilation.

The environment could change for the tropical cyclone that has struggled with wind shear and nearby-land interactions. The National Hurricane Center expects Elsa to strengthen slightly before making landfall in Cuba later Monday and slowly weaken as it moves through the high terrain of the island. It may strengthen slightly when it enters the Florida Straits Monday night into Tuesday morning, but it may encounter wind shear as an upper-level trough of low pressure amplifies in the Deep South and the aforementioned upper-level high over Elsa will stay south of it.

The tropical storm will ride along the western side of a ridge of high pressure in the lower to mid levels. The ridge, centered in the Atlantic, will push Elsa into the eastern Gulf of Mexico early Tuesday and move offshore along Florida’s west coast. The cone of uncertainty ranges from near Apalachicola east to near Port Charlotte, and the cone has shifted slightly west compared to previous advisories as newer guidance models hinted a westward shift in track. The latest runs of the American GFS model ensemble members continued to show a westward shift in the member guidance since earlier in the weekend.

The American GFS model ensemble member guidance on Tropical Storm Elsa's track as of Monday...
The American GFS model ensemble member guidance on Tropical Storm Elsa's track as of Monday morning. Keep in mind that the impacts from the storm will extend farther away from the line.(WCTV Pinpoint Weather)

With Elsa likely be sheared and lopsided, most of the rain and thunderstorm activity will be on the eastern side, meaning eastern portions of the viewing area may see the full force of Elsa’s heavy rain, strong wind, potential storm surge. Coastal flooding of 1 to 3 feet is possible across parts of Apalachee Bay but that will depend on the exact track of Elsa, according to the National Weather Service. Rainfall of 2 to 4 inches with locally higher amounts of 5 to 6 inches is also possible.

Also, tropical-storm-force winds will be possible across the Southeast Big Bend, according to the National Weather Service, which would cause power outages and downed trees. Those in that area should ensure they have enough batteries on hand and that wireless devices are plugged in until power is lost.

There is also a concern of tropical-cyclone-induced tornadoes as Elsa gets closer on Tuesday. The Storm Prediction Center placed portions of Taylor, Lafayette, and Suwannee counties under a level-1 risk of severe weather for Tuesday with tornadoes being the primary threat.

Forecasters will have a better idea on impacts in the Big Bend and South Georgia after Elsa exits Cuba.

The Pinpoint Weather Team will continue to monitor the progress of Elsa over the next few days.

This story was updated to add additional information on Tropical Storm Elsa.

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WCTV) - Tropical Storm Elsa was south of Cuba’s coastline with sustained winds of 65 mph as of the 11 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center. The storm was moving to the northwest at 15 mph.

Tropical Storm Elsa
Tropical Storm Elsa(WCTV Pinpoint Weather)

Elsa looked a little disorganized on Sunday night, with a large area of convection developing off the coast of Jamaica. Convective bands are also moving past Cuba. Elsa’s winds have strengthened this evening, according to the Air Force Hurricane Hunters. However, the central pressure has remained high at 1004 millibars.

The storm is forecast to move past Cuba Monday afternoon, moving the tropical storm overland, where it will likely weaken slightly before emerging into the eastern Gulf of Mexico and turn north towards South Florida. The storm will then continue to the north Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning. This evening’s track is slightly slower than previous advisories. Now the storm is forecasted to reach North Florida as a weak tropical storm Wednesday afternoon. Elsa could potentially make landfall to the south and east of the Big Bend and South Georgia in the northern portion of the Peninsula. However, there is still some uncertainty in the track, and the forecast could still change.

Only minor impacts are possible in our area, with the greatest chance for impacts in the southeastern Big Bend. However, this is subject to change if Elsa’s forecast changes over the next several days.

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WCTV) - Despite better presentation on satellite imagery Sunday morning, Tropical Storm Elsa isn’t showing it in the data collected by Hurricane Hunters flying in the storm.

Elsa’s center was located 50 miles north of Kingston, Jamaica according to the 11 a.m. Sunday advisory from the National Hurricane Center. Maximum sustained winds decreased to 60 mph with a minimum central pressure of 1009 millibars. It maintained a west-northwesterly trek at 13 mph - much slower than its forward movement on Saturday - but with a more slightly northward nudge with a 290-degree bearing.

Tropical storm warnings were issued for the portions of the Florida Keys from Craig Key to the Dry Tortugas according to the National Hurricane Center. Tropical storm watches have been issued for the Southwest Florida coastline from Flamingo northward to Bonita Beach.

Convection appeared to be developing and wrapping around the center of circulation Sunday morning with convection then developing around the center of circulation. But the colder cloud tops appeared to decrease later in the morning, still leaving the storm a bit lopsided.

[T]ail Doppler radar data from the aircraft show an eastward tilt of the center with height,” according to the National Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. discussion based off of the Hurricane Hunter’s findings. That means some wind shear persisted in the environment.

The ocean heat content in the region remained elevated compared to other locations in the Atlantic basin, which would be supportive of tropical cyclone development and maintenance. But with Elsa playing “catch-up” and nearby mountainous landmasses (e.g. Cuba, Jamaica), the window of regaining strength and organization is limited given that it’s expected to move toward Cuba.

The official forecast has Elsa moving into the Florida Straits Monday evening and move northerly toward the Florida Keys. Storm surge as high as 1 to 3 feet is possible in the Keys and Southwest Florida as Elsa nears along with a threat of heavy rain.

There is still uncertainty with the impacts in the Big Bend and South Georgia. It will depend on how far east or west the storm moves to/from the viewing area as well as the strength and organization of Elsa. The closer to the Big Bend, the larger the impacts (gusty winds, coastal flooding, and heavy rain). Landfall, if any, would be as soon as Tuesday evening if moves into southwest Florida or as late as Wednesday morning if in the Big Bend coast. It’s important to note that impacts would arrive well before landfall.

The WCTV Pinpoint Weather Team will continue to track the storm over the next several days and have updates both on-air and online.

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WCTV) - As of 11:00 p.m., Tropical Storm Elsa was 175 miles east-northeast of Montego Bay, Jamaica, with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph. The storm is moving to the west-northwest at 17 mph.

Tropical Storm Elsa
Tropical Storm Elsa(Tropical Storm Elsa)

Elsa slowed down Sunday night, and according to wind data, weakened. An Air Force Hurricane Hunter Aircraft investigated the storm as of 11 p.m. and recorded winds of 63 mph. However, according to satellite imagery, convection towards the storm’s center has increased in the last couple of hours. More convection and development of thunderstorms inside a tropical storm’s center doesn’t always correlate with higher wind speeds and overall strengthening. Still, the aircraft will continue to investigate the storm’s wind speeds just in case.

The storm’s overall track hasn’t changed much with the 11 p.m. update. Elsa is still expected to move past Cuba Sunday and into Monday morning before potentially turning to the north towards the Florida peninsula Monday night. The storm could make its way to North Florida by Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning. Tropical models are still uncertain about the long-term track. However, it is still too soon to know if the storm will impact the southern Big Bend and South Georgia. But, there is a chance with the greatest risk for impacts in the southeastern Big Bend. Having a tropical storm plan and kit in place just in case, is a good idea.

The next update on Elsa’s track from the National Hurricane Center is scheduled for 5:00 a.m. on Sunday. The WCTV Pinpoint Weather team will continue to update the forecast both on-air and online.

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WCTV) - As of 8:00 p.m., Tropical Storm Elsa was 40 miles SSW of Tiburon Haiti with sustained winds of 70 mph. The storm is moving to the WNW at 23 mph.

Elsa has weakened due to its interactions with land as the storm moved through the Caribbean. Wind shear and dry air also worked against Elsa on Saturday afternoon. The storm was also a little lopsided this afternoon in part due to the storm’s fast movement through the Caribbean. The lower portion of the storm was misaligned with the upper portion of the storm, further causing Elsa to disorganize and weaken.

Tropical Storm Elsa
Tropical Storm Elsa(WCTV Pinpoint Weather)

Spaghetti models are a little more aligned with the track this evening. They’re confident that Elsa will continue towards Cuba on Saturday night and into Sunday. They’re beginning to track a little to the south of Cuba before turning north, potentially keeping Elsa’s center over water, preventing the storm from further weakening. A majority of the models predict that Elsa will emerge on the northern side of Cuba before turning towards the Florida peninsula. There is still some uncertainty on Tropical Storm Elsa’s trajectory as it closes in on northern Florida. In some models, the storm will impact areas south of the Big Bend, while others project the storm turning to the southeastern Big Bend.

The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center takes Elsa’s trajectory into the eastern Gulf of Mexico on Monday night before reaching the southeastern Big Bend on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning. However, there is still some uncertainty in the long-term forecast. Elsa’s track will be more certain after Sunday night. The storm is forecasted to remain a tropical storm.

It is too soon to know if Elsa will impact the Big Bend and South Georgia, but it is possible with the greatest risk for impacts in the southeastern Big Bend. Preparing tropical storm kits and plans is a good idea over the next several days. The WCTV Pinpoint Weather team will continue to track the storm both on-air and online.

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WCTV) - Hurricane Elsa continued to struggle with wind shear that was likely induced by the storm’s fast forward speed, prompting a decrease in maximum sustained winds Saturday morning.

Elsa’s center was located 40 miles south of Isla Beata in the Dominican Republic as of the 11 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center. The storm’s movement was a brisk 29 mph - a slightly-slower speed - with a west-northwest bearing. The maximum sustained winds decreased to 70 mph based on measurements from the United States Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters with a minimum central pressure of 999 millibars.

The storm’s low-level center appeared somewhat exposed earlier Saturday morning based on visible satellite imagery with the deep thunderstorm development just to the east of Elsa’s center. The wind shear is likely keeping the thunderstorms to wrap around the center of circulation.

Rain bands were impacting portions of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic Saturday morning, which raised the threat of flash flooding and mudslides. Southern Hispaniola and Jamaica could see isolated rainfall amounts of up to 15 inches as Elsa passes nearby according to the National Hurricane Center.

The official forecast has Elsa moving over Cuba Sunday into Monday, likely weakening it to a tropical storm but still bring gusty winds and heavy rain along with a flood risk to the island. The storm is forecast to then move into the Florida Straits Monday and move northwestward around a ridge of high pressure in the Atlantic. The strength and placement of the high will dictate where the storm would go.

Beyond Monday, there is still some uncertainty with the track and, therefore, impacts in the Big Bend and South Georgia. How strong Elsa will be depends on how well it survives its trek over Cuba as well as the upper-level environment. The American GFS model’s 21 ensemble members don’t quite agree on where to go with some taking it more west - a scenario that could make Elsa stronger - while others take a quicker northern turn and leaving it weaker. The storm will need to be monitored over the holiday weekend.

The WCTV Pinpoint Weather Team will continue to track the storm over the next several days and have updates both on-air and online.

Hurricane Warnings are in effect for parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti’s coastline. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for the Cuban Provinces of Camaguey, Granma, Guantanamo, Holguin, Las Tunas, and Santiago de Cuba. Tropical Storm Watches have been issued for Saba and Saint Eustatius.

Spaghetti Models still agree that Elsa will move through the Caribbean and into Cuba this weekend. However, the forecast past this point becomes uncertain, especially when trying to deduce when Elsa will turn to the north. Some models have the storm turn earlier, which would keep the system on the Atlantic side of the Florida Peninsula. Most of the models predict that the storm will turn later, potentially making its way into the Gulf of Mexico.

The official track predicts that Elsa will continue through the Caribbean as a category one hurricane, moving past Cuba on Sunday and weaken into a tropical storm Sunday night, due to wind shear and interaction with land. Afterward, the NHC’s long-term forecast predicts that the storm will turn towards South Florida on Monday. It is still too soon to determine if the storm will impact the Big Bend and South Georgia, but it’s a good idea to make a plan and prepare just in case.

The WCTV Pinpoint Weather Team will continue to track the storm over the next several days and have updates both on-air and online.

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