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Elsa now a tropical storm as it heads for Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica and Florida

Alex Harris and David J. Neal, The Miami Herald on

Published in Weather News

MIAMI — Hurricane Elsa lost wind speed Saturday morning, dropping to Tropical Storm Elsa as Haiti and the Dominican Republic prepared for impact.

As of the 11 a.m. advisory, the National Hurricane Center said Elsa, just under hurricane status, had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph and was moving west northwest at 29 mph, about 40 miles south of Isla Beata in the Dominican Republic and about 350 miles east of Kingston, Jamaica.

“A decrease in forward speed is expected later today and Sunday, followed by a turn toward the northwest Sunday night or Monday,” the hurricane center’s. advisory said. “On the forecast track, Elsa will move near the southern coast of Hispaniola later today and tonight, and move near Jamaica and portions of eastern Cuba on Sunday.

“By Monday, Elsa is expected to move across central and western Cuba and head toward the Florida Straits,” the advisory continued. “Little change in strength is expected (Saturday night), but gradual weakening is forecast on Sunday and Monday when Elsa is expected to be near or over Cuba.”

The current conical tracking projects Elsa bumping South Florida sometime Monday. The Keys remain in the projected path while there’s less of Miami-Dade County than the 8 a.m. advisory projected path.

Hurricane Elsa and Surfside's Champlain Towers South

 

It’s unclear exactly how strong Elsa, or the edges of it, would have to be to topple the remaining tower standing in Surfside, but officials are worried it could happen. They’ve also said that strong winds or other conditions could delay the continued search through the rubble for more than a hundred missing souls.

On Saturday morning, officials announced that the upright portion of the doomed Champlain Towers South building will be demolished within days to allow rescue crews to eventually resume searching the site safely, officials said.

“This will protect our search and rescue teams. We don’t know when it could fall over,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a press conference on Saturday. “With these gusts, that would create a real severe hazard.”

What will determine how hard Elsa hits Florida

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