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Hurricane Elsa gains strength, moves along Florida's west coast past Tampa Bay

APTOPIX Cuba Tropical Weather Elsa
Tropical Storm Elsa
Posted at 7:25 AM, Jul 06, 2021

Elsa strengthened into a hurricane Tuesday evening as it moved up Florida's west coast slowly. The storm was a tropical storm as it moved across Cuba Monday. Back over open water, the storm regained strength and reached above 75 mph sustained winds, making it a category 1 hurricane.

The outer bands have brought heavy rains and winds to southern Florida for the last day and will continue for another day or so as it moves up the western coast of Florida and over Georgia on Thursday.

The National Hurricane Center warns Hurricane Elsa could produce "heavy rainfall" with "considerable flash and urban flooding" possible in western Florida. The agency also warns life-threatening storm surge is possible in those areas on Tuesday night through Wednesday.

Portions of the Florida coast have issued a hurricane warning in advance of Elsa, and many businesses and residents have prepared.

Later in the week, the NHC says that tropical storm conditions and flooding could be possible in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina as Elsa continues to move northward.

Weather models show the storm system moving north along the east coast of the country, reaching New Jersey Friday morning and possibly Maine before the weekend.

Elsa has already proven to be deadly after claiming the lives of three people in the Caribbean over the weekend.