Tracking Elsa: Storm moves back over water, expected to move toward lower Florida Keys Tuesday

ORLANDO, Fla. — Tropical Storm Elsa continues to track toward Florida.

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11 p.m. update

Tropical Storm Elsa has moved back over water but is still producing heavy rain over Cuba, the National Hurricane Center tweeted Monday.

The storm is expected to move near the lower Florida Keys and the Dry Tortugas on Tuesday, the hurricane center said.

Channel 9 meteorologist George Waldenberger said Tropical Storm Elsa is “a touch stronger,” and the forecast track “hasn’t changed much, but nudged slightly east.”

8 p.m. update

Tropical Storm Elsa remains over Cuba with 50 MPH winds, Channel 9 meteorologist George Waldenberger said.

It is expected to move off the coast and back over water in about an hour or so.

Once that happens, hurricane hunters will investigate again and it may begin to reorganize.

5 p.m. update

As of 5 p.m., Tropical Storm Elsa is moving over Cuba and max winds have weakened from 60 mph to 50 mph.

But Channel 9 meteorologist George Waldenberger said after Elsa moves back over water, some re-strengthening will be possible.

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The latest 5 p.m. track keeps Elsa moving northwest at 14 mph toward the west coast of Florida. Waldenberger said it should move off of Cuba and over the Florida Straits in a couple of hours.

From there, it is on track to skirt north off the west coast of Florida and passing west of the greater Orlando area Tuesday overnight.

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3:45 p.m. update:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis expanded the State of Emergency related to Tropical Strom Elsa to include the following counties on Monday afternoon:

Alachua, Columbia, Dixie, Franklin, Hamilton, Gilchrist, Jefferson, Lake, Lafayette, Madison, Marion, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor and Wakulla.

2 p.m. update:

Tropical Storm Elsa is making landfall on the south coast of Cuba with 60 mph winds as of 2 p.m. Monday.

Channel 9 meteorologist George Waldenberger said the storm should disorganize further as it moves over the island. Forecasters are watching how much re-organization can happen after it passes Cuba and moves over the Gulf, however, Waldenberger said the forecast in Central Florida has not changed at this point.

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11 a.m. update:

Tropical Storm Elsa is nearing the south coast of Cuba, the National Hurricane Center said.

Tropical storm warnings were extended northward along the west coast of Florida, which now includes the Tampa Bay area.

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Weather officials said Elsa is continuing to move toward the northwest. The storm is expected to turn toward the north-northwest on Tuesday.

The storm’s winds remain at 65 mph.

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Meteorologist Brian Shields said isolated tornadoes will be possible late Tuesday into Wednesday across Central Florida.

Shields said there could there could be some “training” of storms, where we could have 4 inches of rain. Localized flooding is possible.

Tropical storm conditions are expected in the Florida Keys on Monday night and along the Florida west coast starting Tuesday.

8 a.m. update:

Tropical Storm Elsa is nearing landfall in west-central Cuba, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm’s winds continue to hold at 65 mph, with higher gusts.

Meteorologists believe Elsa could strengthen before it moves over Cuba.

Tropical storm watches were issued for parts of Lake County.

5 a.m. update:

Tropical storm warnings and watches were extended along the west coast.

Elsa is currently just south of central Cuba. The storm is expected to move across central and western Cuba late Monday and pass near the Florida Keys early Tuesday.

Meteorologist Brian Shields said the storm remains sloppy and disorganized.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm is expected to move near or over portions of the west coast of Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The storm’s winds remain near 65 mph, with higher gusts.

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Weather officials said Elsa could strengthen before it moves over Cuba. It could also restrengthen as it moves over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.

Shields said there were no warnings or watches issued for Central Florida. He said we can expect wet weather and there is a risk of an isolated tornado.

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Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.