A significant flood threat from Tropical Storm Elsa will spread across North Florida and up the East
Tropical Storm Elsa is making landfall in North Florida. As it moves north, it will spread heavy rain in a swath all the way to New England.
After Elsa found a favorable enough patch of atmosphere yesterday to spin up to hurricane strength, the hostile upper winds and dry air finally took over overnight when the storm was centered about 60 miles off Tampa Bay.
As we have seen many times, the intensity of a tropical storm or a hurricane is on a hair trigger. A little bit of extra dry air injected by slightly more hostile winds can gum up the works just enough to weaken a circulation – as just one example of the multitude of scenarios that can come into play.
The result of the storm weakening just enough, and the track just offshore resulted in minimal storm surge in extra-vulnerable Tampa Bay. Dead fish washed up on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa, and power was knocked out to several thousand people, but not much more went wrong.
Now the issue with Elsa becomes heavy rain. Several inches of rain are forecast across North Florida and parts of Georgia and the Carolinas, which could cause significant flooding with the variety of elevations involved. It rains more in the hillier areas, and that water all runs downhill at the same time.
Elsa’s moisture will combine with a cold front in the Northeast and New England. That combination will be a rainmaker there for the end of the week.
Elsa’s tail is producing gusty downpours in a narrow band in the southern part of Florida as well. It’s currently affecting Southwest Florida, but as Elsa tracks northeast, it might swing across more of South Florida. The farther north Elsa gets, however, the weaker the tail will be.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic, nothing is brewing.