FIRST ALERT: Tropical Storm Elsa racing across the Atlantic
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Tropical Storm Elsa continue to race across the Atlantic.
According to the National Hurricane Center, at 5:00 PM, the center of Tropical Storm Elsa was located near latitude 11.2 North, longitude 53.8 West.
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.
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. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1005 mb (29.68 inches).
Elsa’s future is a tricky one with competing factors that will determine how strong it gets. Fast motion and interaction with land (especially the 10,000 foot mountains of Hispaniola) argue against strengthening. Warm water and low wind shear argue for potential strengthening. In the end it will be a few of these factors or a combination of them that will determine the outcome.
If Elsa takes a southern route through the Caribbean and misses the mountainous Islands, then a stronger system with a potential threat to the US could be the outcome. This is what is show by the US GFS model. If Elsa stays further north and interacts with the mountainous islands, it could completely fall apart or remain very weak and be turned out to sea before becoming a threat to the US. This is the scenario portrayed right now by the EURO model. Of course any option in between is possible as well. It’s that time of year where we just have to watch and wait.
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