Tropical Storm Elsa to move through Caribbean

All of Suncoast in is the cone of uncertainty
Cone of uncertainty now on Florida
Cone of uncertainty now on Florida(WWSB)
Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 12:25 AM EDT
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UPDATE at 5 a.m.: Storm has been upgraded to Tropical Storm Elsa

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - We’re keeping a close watch on Tropical Storm Elsa as it becomes better organized Wednesday night. Starting to see some consolidation of thunderstorms around the center of low pressure which is about 1,000 miles southeast of the eastern Caribbean, moving fast to the west-northwest at 23 mph. A large area of high pressure to the north of the system will keep it on a very tight path for about 3 days to the west-northwest -- and then confusion sets in with the forecast models.

The latest GFS, or U.S. forecast model, is taking it into the eastern Gulf of Mexico by Monday while the EURO is thinking it will be closer to the northwest Bahamas on Monday. There is a large spread in days 4 and 5 with the global forecast solutions at this time.

With the 11 p.m. advisory on Wednesday from the National Hurricane Center, our entire viewing area is included in the cone of uncertainty at this time for day 5, late Monday. This is likely to change over the course of the next 3 days due to the low confidence now with the latest forecast. The current spread of the five-day cone is over 450 miles from near the northwestern Bahamas to western tip of Cuba.

Day 5, Monday showing where center may be
Day 5, Monday showing where center may be(WWSB)

A stronger storm will move more to the right or into the Bahamas, while a weak storm will move more to the west possibly out into the central Gulf of Mexico. The future path of the storm will be determined by how strong the trough of low pressure coming down into the southeastern U.S. will be. This trough is going to cause some weakness in the high pressure ridge to the north of Elsa. If the weakness is stronger than projected by the GFS then it will tend to move more toward the northwestern Bahamas like the EURO is suggesting.

If the high pressure system to the north of Elsa is a little stronger than the EURO is showing then we have a better chance of seeing some impacts by this system. Right now the intensity forecast models are showing a range from a weak tropical storm to a weak category 1 hurricane. One must know that intensity forecasting is not very good especially long range. This storm could possibly get caught up in the mountains of Haiti and Cuba and possibly dissipate or it could get into the warm Gulf and become a hurricane.

Many outcomes still possible
Many outcomes still possible(wwsb)

Right now residents and visitors should not cancel any plans for next week but should monitor this system closely over the weekend to keep an eye on future forecasts from the First Alert Weather team. This is a good reminder to go over your hurricane supply kit and plan as we move into the second month of this six-month hurricane season.

Also be sure to download the ABC7 First Alert Weather app to keep informed of changing weather conditions and to track the storms.

This is an unusual storm in that it has developed in the deep tropics and in the main development region in the Atlantic early in the season. Typically you don’t see that in June or early July. We are ahead of the pace of the extreme season of 2020.

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