Elsa strengthens into the first hurricane of the 2021 season

Weather News

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Elsa was officially upgraded to hurricane status Friday morning.

At 8 a.m., the storm’s intensity was 75 mph, up significantly from 5 a.m. It is moving quickly to the west-northwest at 28 mph. A strong subtropical ridge is situated to the north of the storm, and this should steer Elsa quickly to the west-northwest for the next 3 days or so.

Elsa moved over Barbados this morning and is heading quickly towards the Greater Antilles later this morning. Interaction with the landmass could disrupt the circulation throughout the day. There is still significant uncertainty in the track forecast from days 3-5.

The storm is forecast to sustain its hurricane strength, as it moves into the eastern Caribbean Sea and toward the southern coast of Hispaniola Friday and Saturday.

The forecast path shows Elsa arriving in South Florida early Tuesday with winds of 65 mph, but that is subject to change.

The storm could produce between 3 to 6 inches of rain across the Windward and southern Leeward Islands, including Barbados. Forecasters say the rain could lead to isolated flash flooding and mudslides.

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.

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