The Latest on Tropical Storm Elsa

July 7, 2021 // Article by: Mike Mihalik

After churning through the Caribbean and making landfall on the west coast of Florida, Tropical Storm Elsa now is setting its sights northward. As of 11 AM Wednesday, Elsa has maximum sustained winds of 65 mph with the center between Gainesville and Tallahassee, FL. It's moving north at 14 mph, but will gradually turn NNE to NE as it continues inland across Georgia and the Carolinas (getting caught up in a west to east flow). Elsa will also weaken some over land, possibly reducing to a depression on Thursday.

Tropical Storm Elsa's track over the next few days. 

For the Mid-Atlantic into southern New England, effects from Elsa will be felt late Thursday through midday Friday from southwest to northeast. Although Elsa may strenghten back to a tropical storm during this time, the good news is that it will be a fast mover, which will likely limit rainfall to 1 - 2" mostly for those along and east of the I-95 corridor. Now, it is a tropical system, so there's bound to be some localized areas that receive 2 - 3", but the big take away is flooding from the rainfall will likely be relagated to poor drainage areas and street flooding. As far as coastal flooding, it will be rather negligible to at worst minor as the storm will not feature a prolonged fetch to "push" more water into the coast. Also, The storm will pass at lower tide levels, and even if some places are at high tide, it will be the lower of the two high tides that are typically seen in 24 hours. Nevertheless, there will be stronger riptides than normal so please take caution if venturing in the water.

As far as winds, coastal areas will likely max out at 40 - 50 mph gusts, which may down some branches or a few power outages, but overall impacts will likely be minor (this is NOT an Isaias situation). In addition, winds will be much less not too far inland. With the center of the storm pushing over the Delmarva Peninsula, the New Jersey coast, and into eastern CT and MA, we'll need to watch the tornado potential east of the track. These will be most likely in "feeder bands" or lines of thunderstorms wrapping into the storm from the ocean. Although tropical system tornadoes are typically brief, they can still cause damage. So places along the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coastline from VA to MA will need to keep a close eye to the sky. 

Stay safe everyone! We'll have an update tomorrow.