Elsa tropical storm

Tropical Storm Elsa Targets South Florida, Gaining Strength

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But Uncertainty “Remains Larger Than Usual” According To National Hurricane Center. Could Dissipate, Become Non-Event.

National Hurricane Center Tropical Storm Elsa early Friday, July 2, 2021

BY: STAFF REPORT | BocaNewsNow.com

BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — The early Friday morning forecast track for Tropical Storm Elsa increases the likelihood that the storm impacts South Florida on Monday and Tuesday.

The National Hurricane Center’s “cone” now covers the entire state of Florida, as well as a good portion of the Gulf, for the fast moving Elsa that potentially will affect weather for much of the July 4th holiday weekend.

Here is the official forecast as of early Friday:

Tropical Storm Elsa Discussion Number 7
NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL AL052021
500 AM AST Fri Jul 02 2021

Elsa appears to be slowly gaining strength as it nears the Lesser
Antilles. Deep convection has been increasing, and accordingly, the
latest Dvorak estimates have nudged upward. The initial intensity
is increased to 50 kt, but some of the estimates are a little
higher. Radar data from Barbados indicate that a small inner core
could be forming, and it seems likely that the center will pass very
near or over the island later this morning. An Air Force Hurricane
Hunter aircraft is scheduled to be in the storm in a few hours, and
the data collected by the plane should provide a better estimate of
Elsa’s intensity and structure.

The tropical storm is moving quickly to the west-northwest at about
24 kt. A subtropical ridge should continue to steer Elsa briskly to
the west-northwest during the next day or two, taking the storm
across the eastern and central Caribbean Sea. After that time, a
decrease in forward speed and a gradual turn to the north is
expected toward a weakness in the ridge. There has not been much
change in the latest model runs with the GFS and UKMET models on the
left side of the guidance and the ECMWF still on the right side.
The spread in the ensemble members of the GFS and ECMWF is very
large and range from tracks across or east of the Bahamas to the
Yucatan Peninsula. The NHC track forecast continues to hold steady
and lies roughly near the middle of the guidance envelope. As
stated in previous discussions, this is a low confidence track
forecast given the large spread in the models.

In the short term, while Elsa moves across the warm Caribbean
waters, some additional strengthening seems likely. However, the
fast forward speed of the storm and associated mid-level wind shear
should prevent significant intensification. Since the new forecast
is a little higher than the previous one and shows peak winds just
below hurricane force on Saturday near Haiti, tropical storm
warnings have been issued for portions of the Dominican Republic and
Haiti and a hurricane watch is now in effect for the southern
portion of Haiti out of abundance of caution. The degree of land
interaction with the mountainous islands of Hispaniola and Cuba will
be a big factor in the future strength of Elsa at days 4 and 5.
Like the track forecast, there is a huge model spread with solutions
ranging from dissipation in the Caribbean to a category 3 hurricane.
Given the uncertainty, the intensity forecast generally keeps the
storm steady in strength from 24 to 120 h, and it remains on the low
side of the model guidance.

It should be noted that the average NHC track errors are 175 miles
and 200 miles at days 4 and 5, respectively. Given the larger-than-
normal uncertainty and because hazards will extend well away from
the center of the storm, users are urged to not focus on the exact
forecast points.

Key Messages:

  1. Tropical storm conditions are expected to begin later this
    morning in portions of the Windward and Leeward Islands. Tropical
    storm conditions are expected and hurricane conditions are possible
    over southern portions of Hispaniola on Saturday. Tropical storm
    conditions are possible over Jamaica beginning Saturday night.
  2. Heavy rainfall from Elsa will move quickly across the Windward
    and southern Leeward Islands today, including Barbados. Outer rain
    bands will impact Puerto Rico late today into Saturday, and southern
    Hispaniola and Jamaica Saturday into Sunday. Flooding and mudslides
    are possible.
  3. There is a risk of wind and rainfall impacts in portions of
    Cuba, the Turks and Caicos, and the Bahamas through early next
    week. Interests in these areas should monitor Elsa’s progress and
    updates to the forecast.
  4. There is a risk of storm surge, wind, and rainfall impacts in the
    Florida Keys and portions of the Florida Peninsula early next week.
    However, the forecast uncertainty remains larger than usual due to
    Elsa’s potential interaction with the Greater Antilles this weekend.
    Interests in Florida should monitor Elsa’s progress and updates to
    the forecast.

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