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Tropical Storm Elsa Forecast

Tropical Storm Elsa Forecast

At a Glance

  • Hurricane Elsa is speeding toward the Caribbean.

  • Elsa is expected to track through the Lesser Antilles Friday.

  • Its future regarding potential U.S. impact remains very uncertain next week.

Elsa has become the first hurricane on the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season as it approaches the Lesser Antilles. Hurricane Elsa will barrel into the Caribbean Friday, where warnings have been issued for the Windward Islands. Residents of the Caribbean and Florida should track the progress of Elsa closely through the holiday weekend.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Elsa was centered about 40 mph miles west of Barbados as of Friday morning. A sustained wind of 74 mph and gust of 86 mph was measured on Barbados early Friday.

Current Alerts

A hurricane warning has been issued for Barbados, St. Vincent, the Grenadines and St. Lucia. Hurricane conditions are occurring on Barbados and are expected in the warning area in the next few hours.

Tropical storm warnings have been issued for parts of the Windward Islands, where tropical storm force conditions (winds of at least 39 mph) are expected on Friday.

A tropical storm warning has also been issued for the southern coast of the Dominican Republic and portions of Haiti where tropical storm conditions are expected Saturday.

A hurricane watch has also been posted for the southern portion of Haiti. A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions are possible and are typically issued 48 hours before tropical storm force winds are expected to begin.

Tropical storm watches have been issued for Jamaica, meaning tropical storm conditions are possible here this weekend.

Forecast Details

Elsa is tracking quickly westward at 28 mph. The quick forward speed should limit rainfall totals.

A storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 1 to 3 feet above normal tide levels in areas of onshore winds in the hurricane warning area in the Windward Islands and along the southern coast of Hispaniola.

The NHC says rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches with isolated totals up to 10 inches are possible in the Windward and southern Leeward Islands Friday. This could lead to isolated flash flooding and mudslides. That said, the system’s fast forward speed will limit the heavy rain threat that might otherwise be greater.

Elsa will then move across the central and western Caribbean over the weekend. Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Hispaniola, Jamaica and Cuba might see heavy rainfall and strong winds from this system during that time. Puerto Rico may receive 1 to 3 inches of rainfall with localized amounts of 5 inches Friday into Saturday.

As this system moves through or past Hispaniola, it could bring heavy rainfall and storm surge to the island. Up to a foot of rain could fall in southern Haiti, with much of the southern portions of the country picking up 4 to 8 inches.

Forecast Uncertainty

Florida and the eastern Gulf of Mexico are included in the long-range forecast path from the NHC, however, it’s not certain what, if any, impacts it might bring to these areas early next week.

That’s because there are some important forecast factors yet to come into focus once this system tracks into the Caribbean that will influence its future.

One of those is how much land interaction with Hispaniola, Jamaica, and/or Cuba there will be to possibly weaken this system over the holiday weekend. Too much land interaction could disrupt Elsa enough and prevent it from staying intact past the Caribbean.

Elsa’s rather fast westward movement could also prevent it from strengthening too quickly in the near-term future as tracks into the Caribbean.

Another large uncertainty is when and how sharp the system is expected to reach the edge of the Bermuda High that is shoving Elsa westward. When Elsa reaches that edge, it will make a northwestward turn at some point later this weekend and early next week. A faster forward speed in the near-term will mean that this turn will also turn earlier.

The range of outcomes spans from a sooner, sharper northwest then north then northeast turn, recurving well off the Southeast coast to a much more gentle, subtle, late northwest turn into the Gulf of Mexico.

If Elsa tracks toward Florida, later Monday or Tuesday appears to be the earliest this system could impact parts of South Florida. Right now, Elsa is expected to increase the amount of thunderstorm activity in Florida during this time.

Check back to weather.com for updates over the next few days as the forecast uncertainty is narrowed down.

Earliest Forming Fifth Named Storm

Elsa is the earliest forming fifth named Atlantic storm on record in the satellite era (since 1966). The old record was held by Edouard, which developed a year ago on the evening of July 5.

The name Elsa is new to the list of rotating names being used this season. This year’s list was last used in 2015, but Erika was the “E” storm that year.

Erika was retired after it caused deadly and destructive flooding in the Caribbean Island of Dominica. Elsa replaced it.

What are damaging winds?

What are damaging winds?

Damaging winds are often called “straight-line” winds to differentiate the damage they cause from tornado damage. Strong thunderstorm winds can come from a number of different processes. Most thunderstorm winds that cause damage at the ground are a result of outflow generated by a thunderstorm downdraft. Damaging winds are classified as those exceeding 50-60 mph.

Are damaging winds really a big deal?

Damage from severe thunderstorm winds account for half of all severe reports in the lower 48 states and is more common than damage from tornadoes. Wind speeds can reach up to 100 mph and can produce a damage path extending for hundreds of miles.

Who is at risk from damaging winds?

Since most thunderstorms produce some straight-line winds as a result of outflow generated by the thunderstorm downdraft, anyone living in thunderstorm-prone areas of the world is at risk for experiencing this hazard.

People living in mobile homes are especially at risk for injury and death. Even anchored mobile homes can be seriously damaged when winds gust over 80 mph.

trailer-wind-damage

Frequently Asked Questions About Damaging Winds

microburst
Types of water leaks in the bathtub.

Types of water leaks in the bathtub.

Because bathtubs, with or without integrated showers, get such frequent use and the amounts of water used are quite copious, any type of bathtub leak can be an annoying and potentially very serious problem. Left untreated, some leaks can cause thousands of dollars in damage, requiring major repairs and renovations.

Faucet Leaks – Grout/ Caulk Leaks – Drain Leaks

Any type of bathtub leak can be an annoying and potentially very serious problem.

Florida Gov. DeSantis says he is trying to prevent ‘real catastrophic flood situation’ at Tampa-area reservoir

Florida Gov. DeSantis says he is trying to prevent ‘real catastrophic flood situation’ at Tampa-area reservoir

(CNN)Response teams in Manatee County, Florida, are trying to prevent a “real catastrophic flood situation” in the Piney Point reservoir area, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Sunday after taking an aerial tour of the area.

The governor assured the public that the water being discharged to nearby Port Manatee, on the Gulf Coast, is not radioactive.
The Manatee County Public Safety Department declared a state of emergency Saturday and ordered a complete evacuation of the Piney Point reservoir site, about 20 miles south of Tampa, and surrounding areas because of a leak that could cause a collapse of phosphogypsum stacks, radioactive waste that is created during fertilizer production and phosphate rock mining.
“What we’re looking at now is trying to prevent and respond to, if need be, a real catastrophic flood situation,” DeSantis said. “The goal is to ensure the integrity of the stack system as quickly as possible in order to minimize impacts to local residents and to prevent an uncontrolled discharge.”
Manatee County Commission Chair Vanessa Baugh assured Manatee County utility customers “their drinking water is completely safe to drink.”
“The water distribution system is a closed system without any way for floodwater to enter,” Baugh said. “There is also no threat to our primary source of drinking water, Lake Manatee.”
The leak in the containment wall was discovered about a week ago, and residents in the area were evacuated Thursday as officials warned the reservoir could cause structural collapse at any time.
DeSantis said Manatee County public safety officials sent out evacuation notices to residents and businesses in the surrounding area and assisted with the evacuation of 316 homes that were in the evacuation zone near Piney Point.
Onsite engineers said a controlled release was necessary to prevent a “catastrophic failure,” according to the governor. Controlled discharges that began March 30 and continued Sunday are averaging about 35 million gallons per day, he added.
The Florida National Guard is dropping off additional pumps, which “will be fed into surrounding waterways” to help quickly decrease the water levels in the reservoir, DeSantis said.
Acting county administrator Scott Hopes cautioned residents, asking them to “listen” to emergency management.
“If we should have a full breach, within minutes, we’re down to about 340 million gallons that could reach in totality, in a period of minutes, and the models for less than an hour, are as high of a 20 foot wall of water,” Hope said. “So if you are in an evacuation area, and you have not heeded that, you need to think twice and follow the orders.”
Hopes also said while they are not out of the critical area yet, they believe they will be in “a much better position, and the risk level will have decreased significantly,” by Tuesday.
Vaccination for people over 40 starts in Florida

Vaccination for people over 40 starts in Florida

From this Monday, March 29, vaccination will be opened to those over 40, a week after the same was done with those over 50.

At Miami-Dade College North, starting this Monday they will increase the first doses of available vaccines to 1,200 per day. In recent days they had lowered the number of vaccines they administered for the first dose to 500.

This site works on a first-come, first-served basis with hours from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

While on April 5, anyone over the age of 18 can be vaccinated against COVID-19 in Florida, as Governor Ron DeSantis had advanced on Thursday.

Vaccination began in Florida in mid-December with the slogan “Older first”, because priority was given to the immunization of the elderly, as well as to health workers on the front line of the fight against coronavirus.

And this Sunday the sites managed with the support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reached 100,000 vaccines administered. Satisfaction and appreciation showed Sydel Roundtree, a resident of Liberty City, upon receiving the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19; To her surprise, it was the 100,000th person to get vaccinated at Miami Dade College North.

Carmen Gloria Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for FEMA, assures that in “only three weeks and reaching 100,000 vaccines is a very significant achievement.”

Mike Jachles of the State Division of Emergency Management explains that “every day we continue to improve to do a better job in the future.”

The FEMA spokeswoman recommends that “people who are going to get the second vaccine come a little later, like 10:30 am to 11am, because the people who are going to get the first vaccine are arriving very early.”

On the other hand, this weekend some Opa-locka residents began to be immunized with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

For more information about vaccination in Miami-Dade you can go to miamidade.gov/vacuna and if you are a resident of Broward or Palm Beach you can go to https://myvaccine.fl.gov/ .

In South Florida, in addition, the pharmacy chains of CVS, Navarro, Publix, Walgreens, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Winn-Dixie, are administering vaccines free of charge and by appointment through their portals.

 

Deadly tornadoes hit Alabama, leaving path of destruction

Deadly tornadoes hit Alabama, leaving path of destruction

More than 30 million Americans across the South faced the threat of severe weather after multiple deadly tornadoes hit the region Thursday. They sent sparks and debris flying across northeast Alabama.

A large tornado hit metropolitan Atlanta’s Coweta County around midnight Friday, prompting a tornado emergency for the city of Newnan and surrounding areas. No deaths were reported. 

At least five people were killed by storms Thursday in Calhoun County, Alabama, northeast of Birmingham. There were also reports of people trapped in flattened homes.

 

Much of Alabama was under a state of emergency as a large tornado left a trail of destruction in an area 50 miles long from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham earlier Thursday. Tornado and flash flood alerts have been posted across Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia. 

Powerful winds uprooted trees and sent them crashing onto rooftops. Some of the worst damage happened at the Eagle Point subdivision in Shelby County, Alabama. Torn-off roofs revealed the insides of bedrooms and drone footage showed homeowners sifting through debris. 

“It was scary,” said homeowner Carol Willis. “The noise was unbelievable.” 

Willis’s garage was damaged but her home was mostly spared. She described the frightening moments the tornado barreled through her community. 

“I was standing in this bedroom window, I looked out and it started getting dark. I said, well I better get out of this room. I had a metal garbage can. I said, well let me run to my utility room. I put the garbage can over my head, went in there, I stayed no more than two minutes. I came out and I saw all of this. I couldn’t believe it, it went so fast,” she said. 

The city of Pelham was also hit hard. Just 20 miles south of Birmingham, at least 14,000 people in the area are without power.