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First Alert: Tropical moisture returns this week, impacts from Elsa expected midweek

Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 4:03 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 5, 2021 at 7:57 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Today will be the last day with very little moisture in the area. It’s another warm but comfortable day for July with highs today climbing into the mid 80s on the beach and the lower 90s inland.

Rain chances increase especially for Wednesday and Thursday due to Elsa.
Rain chances increase especially for Wednesday and Thursday due to Elsa.(WMBF)

For those headed to the beaches today, look for the sea breeze to provide some relief from the warmth by the middle of the day. Thankfully, the sea breeze today won’t provide any shower chances for the forecast today.

Highs tomorrow are perfect with one isolated shower.
Highs tomorrow are perfect with one isolated shower.(WMBF)

Our next rain chance arrives on Tuesday with a hint of tropical moisture working back into the Grand Strand. The sea breeze will provide for a few isolated storm chances but nothing major. Highs will reach the mid 80s on the beaches and lower 90s inland. Keep in my the rip current risk will remain moderate for both today and Tuesday at the beach!

Tropical Storm Elsa

Our attention remains focused on Tropical Storm Elsa for the forecast midweek. As of this morning, Elsa remains a Tropical Storm with winds of 65 mph. Elsa continues to move to the northwest at 14 mph and is located 110 miles east/southeast of Cayo Largo Cuba.

Here's the 5 AM forecast track for Elsa over the next 48 hours.
Here's the 5 AM forecast track for Elsa over the next 48 hours.(WMBF)

On the forecast track, Elsa is expected to move across central and western Cuba later today and pass near the Florida Keys early Tuesday. Elsa is then forecast to move near or over portions of the west coast of Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday. Maximum sustained winds remain near 65 mph with higher gusts. Some strengthening is possible before Elsa moves over Cuba later today, followed by some weakening while the center moves over land. Slight re-strengthening is forecast after Elsa moves over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.

Not much change in the 5 AM update when it comes to the track.
Not much change in the 5 AM update when it comes to the track.(WMBF)

As of this morning, Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1006 mb.

Local Impacts

Our impacts from Elsa are starting to become a little more clear as we approach the middle of the week. While the forecast track is still a wide 260 miles just to our southwest, impacts from Elsa are expected here in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee by late Wednesday and into Thursday.

Each Scenario features something different in the way of impacts. This is where 50 miles could...
Each Scenario features something different in the way of impacts. This is where 50 miles could make all of the difference with Elsa.(WMBF)

Impacts that we can expect at this time will be gusty winds and heavy rain. Even if Elsa shifts slightly to the west or east, widespread rain and gusty winds look likely at this time for Wednesday night and Thursday. A moderate rip current risk will turn into a high rip current risk and dangerous surf as we head into Wednesday and Thursday.

What we will are watching closely though is the track of Elsa in the Carolinas for the potential tornado threat. Depending on the track, we could have a small window for a few tornadoes as Elsa passes through Wednesday night and into Thursday. With another 24 hours of data, that should become a little bit more clear as the confidence with the forecast continues to increase.

Elsa will bring rainfall and gusty winds to the area but it's still too early for specifics in...
Elsa will bring rainfall and gusty winds to the area but it's still too early for specifics in everything. The track and the next 24-36 hours will tell us a lot.(WMBF)

Keep in mind that an inland track would put the stormy weather over our area with most of the impacts/threats on the table. A track along the coast or offshore would keep the worst of the weather over the Atlantic. We also have to keep an eye on the interaction with Cuba later today. There’s still plenty to watch and that’s why this forecast remains in simple terms for now.

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