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Tropical Storm “Elsa” – Warnings issued for Barbados, Martinique, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines

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Tropical Storm "Elsa" formed at 09:00 UTC on July 1, as the fifth named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. The system is expected to pass near or over portions of the Windward Islands or the southern Leeward Islands on Friday, July 2, move into the eastern Caribbean Sea late Friday and Friday night, and move near the southern coast of Hispaniola on Saturday, July 3.

  • Tropical storm conditions are expected to begin early Friday in portions of the Windward and the southern Leeward Islands.
  • Heavy rainfall from the system will move quickly across the Windward and the southern Leeward Islands, including Barbados, on Friday.  Isolated flash flooding and mudslides are possible.
  • There is a risk of wind and rainfall impacts in portions of the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Cuba, the Turks and Caicos, and the southeastern Bahamas through early next week. Interests in these areas should monitor the system's progress.
  • Interests in Florida should monitor updates to the forecast for this system, but it is too soon to determine what if any impacts could occur there next week given the uncertainty in the long-range forecast, NHC said.

Elsa is the earliest-known fifth named storm on record for the Atlantic basin in the satellite era (1966-present), breaking the record formerly held by Edouard on July 6, 2020.

At 09:00 UTC on July 1, the center of Tropical Storm "Elsa" was located about 1 390 km (865 miles) ESE of the Windward Islands. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 65 km/h (40 mph), minimum central pressure of 1 006 hPa, and was moving W at 41 km/h (25 mph).

On the forecast track, Elsa will pass near or over portions of the Windward Islands or the southern Leeward Islands on Friday, July 2, move into the eastern Caribbean Sea late Friday and Friday night, and move near the southern coast of Hispaniola on Saturday, July 3.

  • A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Barbados, Martinique, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
  • A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Guadeloupe.

Tropical storm conditions are expected in portions of the Windward and the southern Leeward Islands within the warning areas on Friday. Tropical storm conditions are possible in the watch areas on Friday.

Elsa is expected to produce rainfall totals of 75 to 150 mm (3 to 6 inches) with maximum totals of 200 mm (8 inches) on Friday across the Windward and the southern Leeward Islands, including Barbados. This rain may lead to isolated flash flooding and mudslides, NHC warns.

"Some intensification is likely for the next day or two, since Elsa is expected to be in an environment of warm sea-surface temperatures, fairly low vertical wind shear, and high mid-level relative humidity," NHC forecaster Pasch said.

"However, the fast forward motion could result in some decoupling of the low- and higher-level circulation which would limit strengthening."

Additionally, the potential interaction of the storm with the mountainous landmasses of the Greater Antilles could disrupt the circulation somewhat. 

Tropical Storm "Elsa" at 11:30 UTC on July 1, 2021. Credit: NASA/GOES-East, RAMMB/CIRA, TW

Tropical Storm "Elsa" at 11:30 UTC on July 1, 2021. Credit: NASA/GOES-East, RAMMB/CIRA, TW

"Elsa became a tropical storm east of 50°W.  Only one other Atlantic named storm (Storm 2 of 1933) has formed in the tropics (south of 23.5°N) and east of 50°W by July 1 on record," Dr. Philip Klotzbach said.

GFS forecast model

Featured image: Tropical Storm "Elsa" at 11:30 UTC on July 1, 2021. Credit: NASA/GOES-East, RAMMB/CIRA, TW

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