Hurricane warnings still in effect for Tampa Bay area, Suncoast braces as Elsa strengthens
5 p.m. update
SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Tropical Storm Elsa is still expected to become a hurricane as it makes landfall in North Florida. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Tampa Bay Area.
The storm has sustained maximum winds at the center of the storm at 70 mph. Elsa is expected to become a Category 1 hurricane this evening, but as of 5 p.m. is still a Tropical Storm.
Hurricane Warnings are now in effect to our north, for the Tampa Bay area. Tropical Storm Warnings continue along our Suncoast.
A Tornado Watch is in effect until 11 p.m. Small and brief tornadoes are possible as the storm moves through. On the Suncoast, winds and rain will increase this afternoon, with the heaviest rain and gusty winds from 5 p.m., today to after midnight. By 8 a.m., Wednesday, Elsa should make landfall to the north, in the Big Bend area of the coast.
Rain totals from 4 to 6 inches are likely, storm surge later today at 2 to 4 feet. Tropical storm force winds, 40 to 50 mph with higher gusts, will develop late this afternoon and continue into the night. Stronger winds and gusts will occur right along our coastal areas. By Wednesday morning as the storm pulls away, south winds from 15 to 30 mph are still possible, with rain getting lighter through the day.
Tropical storm warnings are up for the Suncoast through tonight. Some severe storms are possible this afternoon and evening, too. Isolated brief tornadoes could also develop into the evening.
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