5 a.m. Update | Latest Tropical Storm Elsa projected path, models, and potential impact to First Coast

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The First Coast will feel the effects of Tropical Storm Elsa from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As of 5 a.m. Monday: Tropical Storm Elsa is reorganizing south of The Keys. 

The First Coast should expect to feel impacts from Elsa with a continued stormy pattern late Tuesday through Wednesday. The biggest impact to monitor will be heavy rainfall and stronger, damaging winds in severe storms. There is also a threat for isolated tornadoes since the Jacksonville area is forecast to be on the eastern side of Elsa’s center as it treks north-northeast. The ground is already very saturated with recent, prolonged wet weather. It won’t take much wind to cause tree damage.

Early Tuesday might be a good time to clear gutters and tidy up any loose vegetation or tree limbs across your property ahead of Elsa moving through. The First Coast’s weather will improve by Wednesday night, but storm chances will continue Thursday with the west flow.

The following are some flood-prone areas due to rain, not storm surge

FIRST COAST IMPACTS:

  • Rounds of heavy rainfall will continue through Wednesday evening, which could aggravate ongoing river and creek flooding and enhance the potential for localized flash and urban / small stream flooding.
  • There is a potential for tropical storm-force winds (mainly inland) with damaging wind gusts of 60 mph in severe storms, which could lead to fallen trees or tree limbs and power outages late Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • Any wobbles in the storm’s track could affect the extent of these impacts, so continue to check-in for updates.

Elsa is also the earliest-known fifth named storm on record for the Atlantic basin in the satellite era (1966-present), breaking the record formerly held by Edouard on July 6, 2020.

It should be noted that the average NHC track errors are 175 miles and 200 miles at days 4 and 5, respectively. Given the larger-than-normal uncertainty and because hazards will extend well away from the center of the storm, everyone is urged to not focus on the exact forecast points.

NHC KEY MESSAGES:

1. As Elsa approaches the Florida Keys, the Florida Peninsula, and coastal Georgia through Wednesday, heavy rainfall may result in isolated flash, urban, and minor river flooding.  Mid to late week, heavy rains across coastal South Carolina and North Carolina may result in isolated flash and urban flooding.

2. Tropical storm conditions and a dangerous storm surge are expected to continue across portions of central and western Cuba today.

3. Tropical storm conditions are expected in portions of the Florida Keys and along the Florida west coast tonight through Tuesday night, where a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect. A Tropical Storm Watch and a Storm Surge Watch are in effect for portions of the west coast of Florida and the Florida Big Bend.

4. There is a risk of tropical storm conditions and storm surge impacts along the coasts of Georgia and the Carolinas Wednesday and Thursday.

Hurricane season is already here and it’s time to be prepared if you aren’t already. Make sure you have had conversations with your loved ones about what you would do if a storm were to threaten.

This year, NOAA released the new seasonal averages for the Atlantic basin. According to the 30-year data from 1991 to 2020, the new averages include 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. The previous Atlantic storm averages, based on the period from 1981 to 2010, were 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. The averages from 1951-1980 , were 11 named storms, 5 hurricanes, and 1 major.

RELATED: Spaghetti Plots: guidance, not a forecast!

Hurricane safety and preparedness are critically important before the season begins on June 1. NOAA’s National Weather Service provides resources to prepare for hurricane hazards and real-time updates about active weather systems from the National Hurricane Center at www.hurricanes.gov

The Atlantic hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30.

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