Tropical Storm Elsa continued to be disorganized on Sunday, but is expected to be close to hurricane force when it makes landfall in central Cuba on Monday morning, the National Hurricane Center said in its Sunday advisory at 11 h EDT. Elsa had slowed considerably since Saturday and was heading west-northwest at 12 mph, with peak winds of 60 mph and a center pressure of 1009 mb – a very high reading for such a strong storm. Heavy rains from the storm affected Cuba, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands; Elsa’s outdoor rain bands will spread across the Florida Keys on Monday and move north into central Florida on Monday evening. Tropical storm warnings were issued in the Florida Keys on Sunday.On Saturday afternoon, Elsa sped along the southern coast of Hispaniola, bringing heavy rain and heavy waves to the coasts of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Two people were killed by collapsing walls in the Dominican Republic, weather.com reported, and another was killed in Saint Lucia after the storm brought high winds and torrential rains to the Small Islands. West Indies Friday.
Satellite imagery from Sunday afternoon revealed Elsa was positioned in the narrow channel between Jamaica and Cuba and struggling to organize. The low-level traffic center was no longer visible and the severe thunderstorms were becoming quite intense, with cold cloud tops indicating that they were extending high in the atmosphere. However, the most severe thunderstorms were located far from the center, and data from the Hurricane Hunters revealed that Elsa was vertically misaligned. This lack of alignment precluded intensification, as did interaction with the islands of Jamaica and Cuba.
Forecast for Elsa
As she progresses west-northwest through Monday, Elsa will benefit from favorable conditions for development, although interaction with the highlands of Jamaica and Cuba may interfere. Elsa is expected to maintain a relatively slow forward speed of 10 to 15 mph until Monday, which should help the storm align better vertically. The sea surface temperatures will be very hot 30 degrees Celsius (86 ° F), the atmosphere will be humid and the wind shear will be moderate, at 10-20 knots. However, the Sunday 12Z run of the SHIPS model only gave a 9% chance that Elsa quickly ramped up to 35mph in the 24 hours ending at 8am EDT on Monday; the National Hurricane Center predicted a 10 mph increase in Elsa’s winds by Monday morning, putting it at 70 mph – just below the hurricane’s strength.
Elsa is mainly a heavy rain threat to Florida
Elsa is expected to make landfall in central Cuba on Monday morning and spend about 12 hours crossing the island. There is some fairly mountainous terrain with elevations above 1,500 feet that Elsa is expected to cross, and the passage over Cuba is likely to significantly disrupt the storm.
Elsa is likely to be a disorganized tropical storm with winds of 55 to 65 mph when it emerges in the Straits of Florida on Monday evening. At this point, the steering currents favor a north course at around 10mph, which will give Elsa less than two days on the hot water to re-intensify. Conditions are expected to be moderately favorable for development, with waters warm to 29 degrees Celsius (84 ° F), moderate wind shear of 15 to 20 knots and a humid atmosphere. However, Elsa will likely need longer than that to reorganize into a hurricane, and Saturday morning testing of reliable intensity models only showed a 5-10 mph increase in Elsa’s winds from Monday night to Wednesday morning. Elsa will most likely be a rainy and messy tropical storm with peak winds of 55 to 70 mph when it makes landfall along the Florida Gulf Coast on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning. Heavy rains of 2 to 6 inches will be the main threat from the storm in Florida.Website visitors can comment on “Eye on the Storm” posts. Please read our Feedback policy before posting. Comments are generally open for 30 days from the date of posting. Sign up to receive email announcements of new publications here. Twitter: @DrJeffMasters et @bhensonweather