NEW YORK — Elsa made landfall on the Florida Gulf Coast as a strong tropical storm on late Wednesday Morning. As of early Wednesday evening, it continues to lash parts of Georgia and Northern Florida with torrential downpours, gusty winds, and the threat of tornadoes.
Beyond the southeast, all eyes remain on Elsa as it tracks up along a frontal boundary toward the tri-state region. Tropical Storm and Flash Flood watches have already been issued as a result.
As for Wednesday night, some severe thunderstorms will be a possibility. Temperatures soared back into the 90s once again in the afternoon. All that heat along with a frontal boundary to the north has brought the threat of strong-to-severe thunderstorms for the second day in a row. Unlike Tuesday, most of the activity has occurred well north, but the risk for severe storms will remain through the evening hours. The main threat will be damaging winds in excess of 60 mph.
The first showers associated with Elsa in our area could move in as early as Thursday afternoon, with the threat of scattered showers and thunderstorms. Temperatures will climb into the mid to upper 80s, but it will be very humid making it feel more like 90 degrees or more.
The brunt of Elsa will move into the region during the overnight hours of Thursday night and continue into Friday morning. It is during this period that the torrential downpours could develop and lead to flash flooding on area roadways. Local rivers and streams could end up overflowing as well. Fortunately, coastal sections will not have to deal with a storm surge, but beach erosion and rough surf will be a possibility.
In terms of wind, the worst of it will likely occur offshore. Nonetheless, tropical storm force winds in excess of 39 mph could occur in coastal sections where the Tropical Storm watches are currently issued. Power outages will be a concern and any lightweight items could get blown away from the gusty winds.
Tropical systems are capable of spinning out a tornado and Elsa will not be an exception. The risk for a tornado cannot be ruled out as the storm passes early on Friday.
The heaviest downpours may end up tapering off Friday morning, but the region is not out of woods yet. A cold front to the west could bring additional showers and thunderstorms late in the afternoon and into the evening hours.
Rainfall amounts will vary depending on the track of Elsa and the approaching cold front. As much as one to two inches will be possible in general, but we could see spots get up to 3 inches.