On Thursday, Tropical Storm Elsa developed in the southern Atlantic Ocean, and experts believe it will produce severe rainfall and floods in the Caribbean before making its way to South Florida.
Elsa is forecast to dump several inches of rain over the Windward and southern Leeward Islands on Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm was located about 260 miles east-southeast of Barbados and 370 miles east-southeast of St. Vincent, the NHC said in its 11 p.m. EDT update. It had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and was moving west-northwest at 26 mph.
“On the forecast track, Elsa will pass near or over portions of the Windward Islands or the southern Leeward Islands on Friday, move into the eastern Caribbean Sea late Friday and Friday night, and move near the southern coast of Hispaniola on Saturday,” the NHC wrote in its advisory. “By early Sunday Elsa is forecast to move near Jamaica and portions of eastern Cuba.”
Tropical storm warnings were issued for Barbados, Martinique, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as sections of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. In the United States, South Florida is expected to be inside the storm’s path and may feel the consequences as early as Tuesday.
On Thursday evening, the Jamaican government issued a tropical storm warning.
Elsa is the fifth named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, and is the earliest to arrive. Last year, Tropical Storm Eduardo formed on July 5.
The other storms that preceded Elsa were Ana, Bill, Claudette and Danny. All were tropical storms.