Tropical Storm Elsa moving quickly toward the Caribbean
BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - The National Hurricane Center has started issuing advisories on what is now Tropical Storm Elsa. The system will continue to track to the northwest over the coming days through the Caribbean, and potentially make a run for the Gulf of Mexico by the early-to-middle portions of next week.
10pm Thursday Update
Tropical Storm Elsa seems to be better organized, with a bursting type pattern of clouds just to the northeast of the center. This signals new thunderstorms are developing around the core of the storm, after being pulled to the east of it for most of the day.
Little changes have been made with the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center. Wind speed has increased slightly to 45mph. Tropical storm conditions are expected to begin early Friday in portions of the Windward and Southern Leeward Islands. Impacts then move to Hispaniola by early Saturday. Risk of storm surge, wind, and rainfall impacts to Florida are possible by early next week.
Tropical-storm-force wind now extends outward up to 140 miles, mainly to the north of the center of Elsa.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Barbados, Martinique, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The storm is moving quickly to the west-northwest at about 29mph, near the northern tip of South America. A strong ridge centered to the north of the system will add a northward component to that steering flow, and Elsa will near the Windward Islands by Friday afternoon. From there, interaction with Hispaniola will be possible through the weekend.
Significant inconsistency in model data begins from there with track and intensity, but it is worth noting that most data does not bring this system into the western half of the Gulf of Mexico by early next weak.
As of right now, the concern for the Brazos Valley is low, as forecast models are in general agreement of the storm tracking closer to the eastern portions of the Gulf, but something to keep eyes on. There will be a favorable environment for strengthening, but the storm should face some hurdles in that avenue, too. Here’s a more detailed look from the NHC morning discussion:
It is worth reiterating that Elsa does not present a concern for the state of Texas and the Brazos Valley at this point. We will continue to monitor the positioning of this storm as it interacts with the Caribbean over the weekend and into next week.
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