Countries issue watches, warnings for Elsa
Bridgetown – The authorities in Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba are all keeping a close watch on Tropical Storm Elsa as it continues to churn across the Caribbean Sea.
In its latest update at 11 a.m., the Miami based National Hurricane Centre says that Elsa – that has been downgraded from a Category one hurricane, located near latitude 17.0 North, longitude 71.6 West. Elsa is moving toward the west-northwest near 29 mph (46 km/h).
A decrease in forward speed is expected later on Saturday and Sunday, followed by a turn toward the northwest on Sunday night or Monday.
On the forecast track, Elsa will move near the southern coast of Hispaniola later in the day on Saturday 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.
Elsa is forecast to move near or over portions of the west coast of Florida on Tuesday.
Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds are now near 70 mph (110 km/h) with higher gusts and little change in strength is forecast on Saturday night, but gradual weakening is forecast on Sunday and Monday, when Elsa is expected to be near or over Cuba.
Currently, tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles (205 km) mainly to the north of the centre.
The minimum central pressure estimated from the Hurricane Hunter Aircraft data is 999 mb (29.50 inches).
Meanwhile, the Government of Cuba has issued a Tropical Storm Warning for the provinces of Camaguey, Granma, Guantanamo, Holguin, Las Tunas, and Santiago de Cuba.
In Jamaica, the government has changed the hurricane warning to a tropical storm warning.
A hurricane warning is in effect for sections of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
According to the National Hurricane Centre – interests elsewhere in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Cayman Islands, the Florida peninsula, and the Florida Keys should monitor the progress of Elsa and additional watches and warnings will likely be required late on Saturday.