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Friday, July 2, 2021

With Florida in its sights, Elsa strengthens into a hurricane

Posted By on Fri, Jul 2, 2021 at 9:29 AM

click to enlarge 085943_5day_cone_no_line_and_wind.60df03b74e67e.jpg

Elsa is now a Category 1 hurricane, and it’s moving quickly.

According to the National Hurricane Center’s 8 a.m. update, the Tropical Storm strengthened into the first hurricane of the 2021 season early Friday morning.

With sustained 74 mph winds, and 86 mph gusts, Elsa is currently about 20 miles west-southwest of Barbado, moving west-northwest at a quick 28 mph, says the NHC.

Tropical storm conditions are expected to begin in the Lesser Antilles within the next few hours.

A hurricane warning is now in effect for Barbados and St. Lucia, and a hurricane watch is in effect for the southern portion of Haiti from Port Au Prince to the southern border with the Dominican Republic.

It’s still too early to determine how this will impact Florida, though most of the state is now within the cone of uncertainty.

Forecasters predict the storm will pass near or over portions of the Windward Islands or the southern Leeward Islands on Friday morning and will move into the Caribbean Sea Friday night.

As of now, Elsa is forecasted to make contact with Florida early Monday.

Elsa is the fifth named storm of the 2021 Hurricane Season. According to the NHC, Elsa’s early arrival is a new record, making it the earliest fifth named storm for the Atlantic basin. The previous record was held by Edouard on July 6, 2020.

This story originally appeared at Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.

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