MIAMI (CBSMiami) – In the eastern Atlantic, Tropical Storm Elsa is still moving rapidly to the west-northwest.
At 5 p.m., the center of the storm was located 410 miles east-southeast of Barbados.
Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles mainly to the north of the center.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:
- St. Lucia
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:
- Grenada and its dependencies
- The southern and western coasts of Haiti from the southern border of the Dominican Republic to Le Mole le St. Nicholas
Elsa is moving toward the west-northwest near 29 mph and this general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days.
On the forecast track, Elsa will pass near or over portions of the Windward Islands or the southern Leeward Islands on Friday, move into the eastern Caribbean Sea late Friday and Friday night, and move near the southern coast of Hispaniola on Saturday. By Sunday, Elsa is forecast to move near Jamaica and portions of eastern Cuba.
South Florida is also included in the forecast track so we will need to closely watch it over the weekend.
For now, Elsa is not expected to be a hurricane threat to South Florida. Its closest approach would be next Monday into Tuesday but it is still too soon to say what, if any impacts, we will see.
The forecast models spread out and are not in agreement going into the late weekend and early next week. Some models forecast Elsa staying south of Cuba while other models forecast it could move over Cuba, the Gulf of Mexico, or possibly in the general direction of South Florida.
We all need to remain alert and aware.
Tropical Storm Elsa is now the earliest fifth named storm on record.