Editor’s note: This story is no longer being updated, please click here for the latest on the storm.
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – We’ve been closely tracking Tropical Storm Elsa throughout the holiday weekend. This disorganized system has a critical stretch ahead as it passes over Cuba. This interaction with land will have a direct effect on what impacts we experience here locally.
A Tropical Storm Watch and Storm Surge Watch have been issued for the Tampa Bay area meaning that tropical storm conditions are possible within the next 48 hours.
Impacts from Tropical Storm Elsa are expected during the second half of the day Tuesday into Wednesday.
At worst, we could experience a storm similar to Tropical Storm Eta at the end of the last season. A higher-end tropical storm passing just offshore to our west would bring heavy rain, strong wind gusts up to 40 to 60 miles per hour in coastal areas, isolated tornadoes and would maximize the potential storm surge. The current storm surge forecast from the National Hurricane Center is for a maximum worst-case water rise of two to four feet.
At best, Elsa’s low-level center of circulation could be seriously disrupted by its path over Cuba over the next 24 hours. We could see a lower-end tropical storm or tropical depression minimizing the aforementioned impacts. A track farther to the west in the eastern Gulf of Mexico would also lessen our impacts. Regardless, prepare for the possibility of tropical storm conditions, especially in coastal areas Tuesday into Wednesday.
We’ll have a much better idea of what exactly to expect locally once we see what kind of shape Elsa is in when it emerges out of northwestern Cuba and into the southeastern Gulf.
Stay with the Max Defender 8 Weather Team as we continue to track Elsa!