Tropical Storm Elsa formed in the central Atlantic Thursday morning and is the earliest fifth named storm on record in the Atlantic Basin.
As of the 11 p.m. advisory Thursday, Elsa’s maximum sustained wind has increased to 50 mph. The storm is racing toward the west-northwest at 26 mph, but this quick movement could eventually hurt the storm and prevent additional strengthening.
Models as well as the National Hurricane Center show a consistent movement into the eastern Caribbean on Friday and through the weekend. A tropical storm warning is in place for Barbados, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. A tropical storm watch is in place for Grenada and its dependencies, the southern and western coasts of Haiti from the southern border of the Dominican Republic to Le Mole le St. Nicholas.
There is still model discrepancy on how strong the system could be and where it could go. Key factors still have to be worked out, such as how much time it spends over land, the storm’s quick movement, and wind shear.
Southwest Florida is still included in the latest forecast cone. While it is much too early for specifics, one big thing the Weather Authority is looking for is consistency within models.
For now, it’s something to monitor closely, especially next Monday through Wednesday. Don’t panic, just prepare! Be sure to follow the Weather Authority for all the latest tropical updates, where there is no hype, just the facts.