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Storm surges and floods: the first hurricane of the 2021 season is heading for Florida

Hurricane Elsa intensified significantly on the morning of Friday, July 2, becoming the first hurricane of the 2021 season. He will enter Florida next week. Writes about it CNN.

Photo: Shutterstock

This is the third storm of the season to threaten the U.S. coastline and could be approaching Florida by next week.

Elsa's wind speeds reached 75 miles (120 km) per hour, with gusts of up to 90 miles (144 km) per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

It is expected to intensify slightly in the next 36 hours, the hurricane center said.

Hurricane warnings are in effect in Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and southern Haiti from Port-au-Prince to the southern border with the Dominican Republic. Hurricane alert is active in Jamaica and the southern coast of the Dominican Republic from Punta Palenque to the border with Haiti.

“A hurricane warning means that disaster conditions are expected somewhere within the warning zone, in this case in the next few hours. Preparations for the protection of life and property should be completed in a hurry, ”the center said in a special message.

On the subject: Hurricane season has begun in the USA: step-by-step instructions on how to prepare for storms

Elsa was the earliest fifth named storm at this time on record, surpassing the pace set by the record 2020 hurricane season this season. The first named hurricane of the season usually does not occur until August 10, and the average date for the first tropical storm is July 9.

Up to 3 inches (7,6 cm) of rain can fall in Puerto Rico

Elsa is heading to the eastern Caribbean and on Saturday, July 3, will move to the southern coast of Hispaniola. By early Sunday, 4 July, it is expected to be close to parts of eastern Cuba.

The Windward and Leeward Islands are forecast to receive 2 (3 cm) to 7,6 inches (6 cm) of precipitation on Friday, July 15,2. In Puerto Rico, it can drop 1 to 3 inches (2,5-7,6) until Saturday, July 3rd. In areas with heavy rainfall, flash floods are possible.

Screenshot: NHC

Those near the recently erupted La Soufriere volcano in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are at risk as torrential rains cause lahars - mud streams created when volcanic material mixes with crater lake waters.

“When the volcano erupted, a huge amount of ash was formed on the island, most of which is located on the hills. Heavy rain, mixing with ash, will create a stream that can cause significant damage like a landslide - the so-called lahar, ”said CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.

“In areas of southern Hispaniola and Jamaica, from Saturday to Sunday (3-4 July) rainfall is between 4 and 8 inches (10-20 cm) with an isolated maximum of 12 inches (30 cm). This rain can lead to flash floods and landslides, ”the hurricane center said.

Governor believes Elsa could influence the rescue operation in the destroyed house

Elsa could influence search and rescue efforts at the Surfside condominium collapse site within days, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said.

“It is possible that tropical storm winds may blow in this area,” he suggested. “Not guaranteed, but possible, so our Department of Emergency Situations anticipates this will happen and is making the necessary preparations to be able to protect most of the equipment.

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Search and rescue operations at the site were temporarily suspended on Thursday 1 July due to structural problems with the existing structure and then resumed in the evening. The Florida State Response Team coordinated 500 response services at the scene, DeSantis said.

Since Elsa's impact on Florida "begins on Sunday evening, we place special emphasis on this, because we understand the complexity of events," the governor said.

Screenshot: NHC

Miami-Dade County will face the risk of heavy rains and high winds from Sunday evening, July 4, until Monday morning, July 5, said Charles Cyril County Emergency Management Director.

Although officials do not think the district is in immediate danger, he said, they have developed contingency plans.

The Hurricane Center warns that the Florida Keys and parts of southern Florida will face the risk of storm surges, high winds and heavy rains early next week. How strong Elsa will be next week is not very clear due to the possibility of interaction with land and disagreements between weather models.

Some weather models predict that Elsa will turn east of Florida, while others suggest that she will enter the Gulf of Mexico.

“It's too early to determine what will happen next week, given the uncertainty in the long-term outlook,” the hurricane center said.

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