Hurricane Warning for Tampa Bay Northward; Tornados Possible in Florida Peninsula


Tropical Storm Elsa is moving past the Florida Keys and with its current forecasted track remaining parallel to the west coast of Florida, weather conditions are expected to begin deteriorating Tuesday afternoon. YouTube Tips ⓘ

The NHC issued hurricane warnings for areas near the west coast of Florida from Tampa Bay northward to Steinhatchee in the Big Bend region. The warning, means hurricane conditions are expected. The Hurricane Warning area includes Tampa, St. Petersburg and Cedar Key.

Tropical Storm Elsa gained strength in the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to impact parts of the Tampa-St. Petersburg metro area, escalating to a hurricane through early Wednesday with storm surge, high winds, flooding rain and isolated tornadoes possible across much of Florida peninsula outside the Hurricane Warning area.

Early Tuesday afternoon July 6, 2021, the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters found flight-level winds in Elsa were stronger and surface pressure was lower even as Tropical Storm Elsa moved into dry air and wind shear, which usually weakens tropical storms. Tornado warnings have been activated in several areas south of Orlando in Central Florida and South Florida. Tornados could occur in bands of heavy rain and gusty winds that are moving north into South and Central Florida. Wind gusts to 70 mph have been clocked amid the heavy rain in Key West and flooding has been reported in the Lower Keys.

Tropical Storm Elsa Hurricane Cone Tuesday, July 6, 2021 at 5:38 EDT.
Tropical Storm Elsa Hurricane Cone Tuesday, July 6, 2021 at 5:38 EDT.


A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for portions of the Florida Keys, from Craig Key westward to the Dry Tortugas, and also along and inland from the Gulf Coast of Florida from Flamingo to south of the mouth of Tampa Bay and also from north of Steinhatchee to the Ochlockonee River near Apalachicola.

Cities included in the Tropical Storm Warning are Key West, Marco Island, Naples and Sanibel Island. Tropical storm conditions with winds of at least 39 mph or more will continue to spread northward across these areas through Wednesday.

A Tropical Storm Watch extends from St. Marys River, Georgia, to South Santee River, South Carolina. Tropical storm conditions could spread into the Georgia and South Carolina watch areas Wednesday night into Thursday.

A tornado watch area has been issued for most of Central, East and South areas of the Florida Peninsula until 11 p.m. EDT.

Elsa is forecast to reach Category 1 hurricane status as it moves north along the west coast of Florida. Landfall is expected early Wednesday near Florida’s Big Bend region where the peninsula meets the panhandle near the Apalachee Bay. A Tropical Storm Warning was already in effect in the Apalachee Bay area. St. Mark’s, Piney Island and Tallahassee are communities nearby.

The most intense time of the storm near the Tampa – St. Petersburg area will be Tuesday night through early Wednesday.

The impact of Elsa will be felt in Orlando and Disney World.

The strongest impacts from Tropical Storm Elsa will begin to be felt across east-central Florida from late Tuesday afternoon through early Wednesday morning as the system moves northward and parallel to the Florida west coast.

Stronger squalls from Elsa`s outer rain bands spread over the Treasure Coast and Lake Okeechobee region early afternoon. Rain bands will increase in coverage and intensity as they spread north across all of east central through this evening and overnight into early Wednesday morning. Winds will gust to tropical storm force in most rain bands and squalls, and 50 to 60 mph in the most intense squalls.

Conditions will also become increasingly favorable for tornadoes to develop within rain bands over the entire Florida peninsula starting later today and continuing into Wednesday morning. The Storm Prediction Center indicates a 5% Day 1 Tornado Risk for most of the peninsula as part of the Convective Outlook. The greatest threat for tornadoes to develop across east-central Florida will be from sunset Wednesday evening to a few hours after sunrise Wednesday.

A Flood Watch has been issued for Lake, Seminole, Orange and inland Volusia Counties. Rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches are expected in the watch area, with isolated amounts to around 6 inches. Outside of the watch area, rainfall of 1 to 3 inches is expected, with local amounts to around 4 inches. The highest totals are expected closest to the track of Elsa`s center, across and adjacent to Lake County.

A Tropical Storm Watch remains in effect for Lake County, where the highest potential exists for sustained tropical storm force winds up to 40 mph. Stronger wind gusts well above tropical storm force are most likely across this area as well.

Other parts of the United States Southeast, including southeast Georgia, the coastal Carolinas and southeast Virginia, will see some impacts from Elsa late Wednesday into Thursday night as the tropical storm turns northeast. The storm is forecast to reach southeast New England on Friday, July 9, 2021.

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