Landfall is expected between 5 and 7 a.m. Wednesday.
Tropical Storm Elsa is drenching Key West, Florida, Tuesday morning and may strengthen during the day as it nears landfall by Tampa Bay.
The tropical storm’s path is sparing Miami, where rescuers are still searching for victims of the deadly Surfside condo collapse.
Elsa will pass the Tampa Bay area overnight Tuesday into Wednesday and is forecast to make landfall just north of Tampa Bay between 5 and 7 a.m. Wednesday.
Tampa International Airport is suspending operations at 5 p.m. Tuesday with plans to resume at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Elsa’s winds are expected to reach 70 mph at the time of landfall; storms need winds 74 mph or higher to be considered a hurricane.
Storm surge could reach 5 feet around Tampa Bay, an area very susceptible to flooding due to the coastal, low-lying topography.
The heaviest rainfall — 6 to 10 inches — will be north of Tampa.
Flooding is possible for most of Florida — from Naples to Jacksonville — and could extend into Georgia.
The ground in many parts of the Sunshine State is already saturated after a 300% rain increase over the last two weeks, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez said Tuesday.
Residents should be prepared to be without power for the next few days, but widespread evacuations aren’t expected, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said.
After barreling through Florida, Elsa will weaken as it moves through Georgia, the Carolinas and the mid-Atlantic.
A tropical storm watch could even be issued in the Northeast.
Elsa will pass just east of New York City and Long Island on Friday morning and then speed up around Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard where gusty winds and heavy rain are possible.
Source: ABC – US News