FIRST ALERT: Elsa remains hurricane, tropical storm warning issued for Grand Strand
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Elsa has gradually gained strength today and is now a hurricane.
According to the National Hurricane Center, at 11:00 pm, the center of Hurricane Elsa was located by an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft and NOAA Doppler weather radars near latitude 27.3 North, longitude 83.2 West. Elsa is moving toward the north near 14 mph, and this general motion is expected to continue through tonight. A turn toward the north-northeast is expected on Wednesday, followed by a faster northeastward motion by late Thursday. On the forecast track, Elsa will move near or over portions of the west coast of Florida later tonight and early Wednesday morning. Elsa is forecast to make landfall along the north Florida Gulf Coast by late Wednesday morning and then move across the southeastern United States through Thursday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 75 mph with higher gusts. Some fluctuations in the intensity are possible until landfall occurs on Tuesday. Weakening will begin after Elsa moves inland by late Wednesday morning. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles. Sarasota Airport recently reported a sustained wind of 36 mph and a wind gust to 46 mph. The estimated minimum central pressure based on data from the aircraft is 997 mb.
Heavy rain looks likely across most of the region on Thursday with 1″ to 3″ expected. Very heavy rainfall in a short amount of time early Thursday could result in minor street flooding at times. River levels continue to run much lower-than-normal so river flooding is not expected.
Widespread issues from wind are NOT expected. Winds will turn gusty starting before sunrise Thursday and peak around sunrise. Wind gusts of 35 to 40 mph are possible especially near the beaches with. A few higher gusts could occur in stronger rain bands. Secure any loose outdoor items that could be tossed around in gusty winds.
An isolated tornado can’t be ruled out through Thursday. While widespread severe weather is unlikely, the area will be along the favorable right side of the forecast track. This is the region favored for a tornado threat with tropical systems. The threat for tornadoes will quickly end by midday Thursday.
The Storm Prediction Center has placed our area under a level one severe weather risk for late Wednesday night and Thursday for these threats mentioned above. Of course, now is the best time to download the First Alert Weather App! It’s a great tool to keep you informed on Elsa and future storms during this hurricane season.
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