(CNN) – Hurricane Elsa intensified significantly on Friday morning, becoming the first hurricane of the 2021 season.
It’s the third storm of the season to threaten U.S. coasts, and it’s likely to approach the Florida peninsula next week, including around the The site of the fatal apartment collapse in Surfside.
The National Hurricane Center said Elsa had sustained winds of 136 km/h with gusts of up to 169 km/h. 8 pm. ET, the Category 1 storm was moving west at 30 mph, about 1,287 km east-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica.
A hurricane warning is in effect for Jamaica and the southern part of Haiti from Port-au-Prince to the southern border with the Dominican Republic and the southern coast of the Dominican Republic from Ponta Palenque to the border with Haiti.
A hurricane bulletin has been issued for several provinces in eastern Cuba.
There is a tropical storm watch for the south coast of the Dominican Republic east of Ponta Palenque to Cabo Engano, and for the coast of Haiti north of Port-au-Prince.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for Saba and Sint Eustatius, the northern coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to Manzanillo Bay, and the islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
“A hurricane warning means that a hurricane is expected somewhere within the warning zone, in this case, in the next few hours. Preparations must be completed quickly to protect life and property,” the Hurricane Center said in a special notice Friday morning.
Elsa was the fifth oldest recorded storm on record, and this season was well ahead of the pace set by the record-breaking 2020 hurricane season. The first hurricane of the season is generally not seen until August 10, and the average date for the first tropical storm is July 9.
Puerto Rico can receive up to 7 centimeters (3 inches) of rain
The storm’s projected path indicates that it will move on Saturday near the southern coast of Hispaniola, creating hurricanes in southern Dominican Republic and Haiti late Saturday. It could intensify before the storm makes landfall on Saturday.
On Sunday, the storm is expected to move over or near Jamaica and Cuba, where interaction with Earth could weaken the system in a tropical storm.
The storm is expected to bring 10 to 20 centimeters (4 to 8 inches) of rain Friday over the Windward Islands and southern Leeward, including Barbados, with a height of up to 38 centimeters (15 in). You can see Puerto Rico 1 to 3 inches (2 to 7 cm) long through Saturday. Floods and landslides will be possible in areas experiencing heavy rainfall.
Elsa left Barbados without authority, according to Charles Jung, director of communications for Barbados Prime Minister Mia Motley.
Ruins and tree branches are scattered all over the island and pictures show buildings without roofs and large, fallen trees, caused by some of the strongest winds Barbados has seen in decades, according to Jung.
The center said that in southern parts of Hispaniola and Jamaica, 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm) of rain is likely, with sporadic amounts of up to 15 inches (38 cm), from Saturday to Sunday.
Those near La Soufriere volcano in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, which erupted recently, have an additional concern to worry about: torrential rain causing lahars.
“When the volcano erupted, it deposited large amounts of ash on the island, much of it at higher altitudes. Heavy rain would mix with the ash, creating a liquid sludge that could cause similar damage,” said Chad Myers, a CNN meteorologist By landslides, it is called Lahar.
“In southern parts of Hispaniola and Jamaica, 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm) of rain is possible with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches (30 cm) from Saturday through Sunday. According to the Hurricane Center, this rain can cause flooding. and landslides.”
The governor says that Elsa can influence the search for an apartment
By Monday morning, the storm is expected to move north and is likely to pass over Florida on Tuesday. There is a great deal of uncertainty regarding extended forecasts, so the exact part of Florida that could be affected remains largely unknown. Almost the entire state of Florida lies in the forecast cone from the center of hurricanes.
In a few days, Elsa may affect search and rescue efforts in the The location of the apartment collapse in SurfsideFlorida Governor Ron DeSantis said.
“This area is likely to see winds as strong as tropical storms,” he said Friday morning. “It is not guaranteed, but it is possible, so our emergency management department is assuming that this will happen and making the necessary preparations to be able, of course, to protect a lot of equipment.
“It’s too early to be sure we’re in danger of ‘from Hurricane Elsa,’ but we still have to prepare,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniela Levine Cava told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Friday.
“We have started that process and urge everyone to make the necessary preparations for the hurricane,” the mayor said. “And we’ll be watching the storm so that if it looks like the wind strength is going to be too high for us to safely continue our search and rescue, we’ll have to stop.”
At a news conference Friday afternoon, Levine Cava said demolition of the South Champlain Towers would not begin before the storm made its way through the Miami area.
Search and rescue work at the site was temporarily halted Thursday due to structural concerns, then resumed overnight. DeSantis said the Florida response team coordinated 500 first responders at the state and local levels at the scene.
With Elsa’s effects in Florida, the governor said, “beginning Sunday night… we add this special focus to this site because we understand the sensitivities involved.”
Miami-Dade County faces the risk of heavy rain and winds from Elsa starting Sunday night through Monday morning, County Emergency Management Director Charles Charles said Thursday night.
He said that while officials do not believe the county is in immediate danger, they have made contingency plans.
The Hurricane Center warned that early next week the Florida Keys and parts of the southern Florida peninsula face the risk of storms, winds and heavy rain. It’s also not entirely certain how powerful Elsa will be next week due to the potential for ground interaction and inconsistencies between weather models.
The hurricane center does not trust the extended forecast path. Some weather models expect Elsa to turn around and stay east of Florida, while others take her to the Gulf of Mexico, leaving the entire Florida peninsula to fail to measure.
“It is too early to say what effects, if any, could occur next week given the uncertainty in the long-term outlook,” Thursday said Hurricane Center.
CNN’s Monica Jarrett, Michelle Krupa and Taylor Ward contributed to this report.
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