Tropical storm Elsa turns into hurricane; alert issued in Florida

Hurricane Elsa is headed toward Florida's northern Gulf Coast packing wind speeds of up to 75 mph (121 kmph), news agencies reported, citing the National Weather Service.
Dark clouds from Tropical Storm Elsa loom over Venice Fishing Pier at Brohard Park at Venice Beach, Florida, US, on July 6, 2021. (REUTERS/Octavio Jones)
Dark clouds from Tropical Storm Elsa loom over Venice Fishing Pier at Brohard Park at Venice Beach, Florida, US, on July 6, 2021. (REUTERS/Octavio Jones)
Published on Jul 07, 2021 06:24 AM IST
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By | Written by Joydeep Bose

Tropical storm Elsa, which has ravaged the Caribbean and the Florida Keys with incessant rainfall and strong winds has now strengthened into a hurricane, news agencies reported on Wednesday morning, citing met department officials familiar with the development. This comes in the wake of Elsa weakening into a tropical storm near Cuba earlier on Tuesday before regaining its hurricane status back ahead of Florida landfall.

Hurricane Elsa is headed toward Florida's northern Gulf Coast at incredible speeds of up to 75 mph (121 kmph), the Associated Press reported, citing the National Weather Service. A hurricane alert has been issued for the coastline -- a long stretch between the Egmont Key at the mouth of Tampa Bay and the Steinhatchee River in Florida's Big Bend area.

Elsa is projected to make landfall somewhere in between these areas in Florida anytime from 8am and 9am today (US time; here in India the news is likely to be received around the evening).

At 5:30am IST on Wednesday, Hurricane Elsa was located about 100 miles south-southwest of Tampa Bay, Florida, according to Accuweather. The region is highly vulnerable to a storm surge, an AP report noted, due to the shallow offshore waters. It is likely that the Tampa Bay area would take a hard hit from the storm overnight, the report quoted Florida governor Ron DeSantis as saying.

The storm surge could reach five feet (1.5 meters) over normally dry land in the Tampa Bay area if Elsa passes at high tide, forecasters said. The storm's westward shift spared the lower Florida Keys a direct hit on Tuesday, but the islands were still getting plenty of rain and wind. Tropical storm warnings were posted for the Florida Keys from Craig Key westward to the Dry Tortugas and for the west coast of Florida from Flamingo northward to the Ochlockonee River.

(With inputs from Associated Press)

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