Latest Tropical Storm Elsa projected path, models, and potential impact to First Coast

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The biggest impact to monitor will be heavy rainfall and stronger gusts to 50 mph in severe storms. There is also a threat for isolated tornadoes.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Tornado Watch is in effect for northeast Florida and southeast Georgia until 1 p.m. Wednesday. There is also a Flood Watch in effect for the entire area until late Thursday night. 

As of 11 a.m. Wednesday: Elsa has maximum sustained winds of 65 mph and is moving north at 14 mph. The tropical storm is making landfall in Taylor County along the North Florida Gulf Coast. Our forecast is playing out as planned here across the First Coast with a wet and windy Wednesday on tap.

The biggest impact to monitor will be heavy rainfall and 50 mph gusts 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.

The worst of the weather will be passing the First Coast starting Wednesday morning through evening with conditions improving by Wednesday night, but isolated storm chances will continue Thursday with the west flow.

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


  • 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.


1. As Elsa moves across the western and northern Florida Peninsula today, heavy rainfall may result in considerable flash, urban, and isolated moderate river flooding. Heavy rainfall across southeast Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and southeastern Virginia may result in isolated flash and urban flooding, with considerable flash and urban flooding possible across coastal Georgia and the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Heavy rainfall across the Northeast and New England Thursday and Friday could lead to isolated flash and urban flooding.

2. There is a danger of life-threatening storm surge along portions of the west coast of Florida today, and a Storm Surge Warning is in effect for that area.

3. Hurricane conditions are possible during the next several hours along a portion of the west coast of Florida, where a Hurricane Warning is in effect. Tropical storm conditions are occurring across portions of the western Florida peninsula and will continue to spread northward along the west coast of the state within the warning area through today.

4. Although the center of Elsa is expected to remain inland of the coastline from Georgia through the Carolinas during the next day or two, tropical storm conditions are expected along much of the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina.  Tropical storm conditions are also possible along the coast of the mid-Atlantic state by Thursday night or Friday.

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

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

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