5 a.m. Update: Portions of the Suncoast now under tropical storm warning
SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -- At 5 a.m., Tropical Storm Elsa is moving toward the northwest at about 14 mph and this general motion is expected to continue today, followed by a turn toward the north-northwest on Tuesday.
The tropical storm watch issued from Flamingo to Englewood has been upgraded to a tropical storm warning, which means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area. The tropical storm watch on the west coast of Florida has been extended northward from Anclote River to Aucilla River in the Panhandle.
On this forecast track, Elsa is expected to move across central and western Cuba later today and pass near the Florida Keys early Tuesday. Elsa is then forecast to move near or over portions of the west coast of Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The center of Tropical Storm Elsa was located near latitude 21.0 North, longitude 79.9 West.
Maximum sustained winds remain near 65 mph with higher gusts. Some strengthening is possible before Elsa moves over Cuba later today, followed by some weakening while the center moves over land. Slight restrengthening is forecast after Elsa moves over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.
A storm surge will raise water levels above normal tide levels within the watch and warning areas, with the tampa Bay area expecting 2-to-4-foot surge.
Rainfall from Elsa will impact portions of the Florida Keys, Florida Peninsula and the coastal Southeast this week. Amounts of 2 to 4 inches with localized maximum amounts up to 6 inches are expected across Florida and coastal Georgia Monday through Wednesday, which may result in isolated flash, urban, and minor river flooding.
As Elsa moves across Cuba it is expected to slightly weaken. Once into the Gulf, slight strengthening may take place. Models have impacts along the Suncoast starting late Monday with winds starting to pick up but the peak of the storm will be into Tuesday afternoon and evening
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