Eye on the Tropics

Parts of Florida under Tropical Storm Watch as Elsa to make landfall in Cuba on Monday

ORLANDO, Fla. — Tropical Storm Elsa slightly strengthened Sunday night as and it is expected to make landfall in Central Cuba on Monday.

11 p.m. update:

Tropical Storm Elsa continues to move closer to Cuba and is projected to make landfall on Monday.

Elsa’s impact on the island may determine how the storm will later impact Florida this week.

The storm appears unorganized, with winds at around 65 mph and is moving west-northwest at around 15 mph.

The latest forecast models have Elsa moving past Cuba Monday afternoon before making a possible landfall on the Gulf Coast of Florida early Wednesday.

Several counties in South Florida and on the Gulf are under a Tropical Storm Watch.

No tropical storm watches have been issued in Central Florida.

5 p.m. update:

Tropical Storm Elsa continues to make its way towards Cuba. Winds are still moving at 60 mph. It’s moving northwestward very close to southeast Cuba.

Heavy rain will continue over Jamaica and parts of eastern Cuba on Sunday night. Tropical Storm Elsa will continue over central Cuba and the Cayman Islands on Monday.

Updated track hasn’t changed much and shows tropical storm Elsa passing to our west on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. The main threats locally will be a few isolated tornadoes and the chance for flooding.

There is a Tropical Storm Watch between Tampa Bay and Key Largo with a Tropical Storm Warning for Key West.

11 a.m. update:

Elsa remains a tropical storm with winds of 60mph. It continues to slow in forward speed moving WNW at 13mph.

On this track, Elsa will move towards Cuba though the day. This land interaction should begin to weaken Elsa later today and overnight.

Based on the current track, Elsa will remain a tropical storm as it tracks up the west coast of Florida.

Tropical storm conditions are possible in Central Florida, beginning late Tuesday through most of Wednesday.

5 a.m. update:

Elsa remains steady with winds of 65mph. The center is located just east of Jamaica, and south of Cuba.

Short term: If the center stays over water, slight strengthening can occur, but overall, land interaction to weaken Elsa starting later today.

11 p.m. Saturday update:

The projected path of the storm continues to aim for the Gulf coast of Florida.

Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for coastal and southern counties in the projected path of the storm.

No counties in Central Florida are currently under a state of emergency.

Landfall is expected Tuesday afternoon and Elsa is forecast to remain a tropical storm.

Elsa’s winds have lowered from 70 mph to 65 mph and is currently moving west-northwest at 17 mph.

There is still time for Elsa to gain strength and alter is course, with impact on Central Florida sill a possibility.

Channel 9 will continue to monitor the storm as resident around the state are asked to prepare for possible flooding and damaging wind.

5 p.m. Saturday update:

A Tropical Storm Watch is now in effect for the Florida Keys from Craig Key westward to the Dry Tortugas.

Elsa is near Haiti and still a 70 mph tropical storm and remains fairly disorganized.

There is still uncertainty as to the path Elsa will take over Cuba, and then as a result, how much weakening should occur before moving over the Eastern Gulf and tracking northward.

One thing we have to watch for is if Elsa can reorganize after moving over the Gulf. We are still watching for any potential impacts locally for Tuesday.

By Sunday we should see more tropical storm watches for other parts of Florida.

11 a.m. Saturday update:

Elsa has been downgraded to a tropical storm with winds of 70 mph. The forecast from the national hurricane center has Elsa remaining a tropical storm as it moves closer to Cuba later tonight.

Land interaction with Caribbean islands could further weaken Elsa on Sunday and into Monday.

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The official track has a tropical storm moving across the Florida peninsula and impacts to Central Florida beginning early on Tuesday.


Elsa remains a Category 1 hurricane, with winds of 85 mph, but did weaken slightly Friday evening, the National Hurricane Center said.

It is expected to regain strength by late Saturday, the center tweeted.


Channel 9 meteorologist Brian Shields said the storm system is still holding as of Friday. If it holds Saturday, South Florida and the Keys would need to start making preparations. If it holds Sunday, Central Florida would need to make preps for a tropical storm.

A hurricane warning was issued Friday morning for Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Channel 9 meteorologist Rusty McCranie said the storm is forecast to remain a hurricane until land interaction knocks it down to a tropical storm.

As of the 11 a.m. advisory, the track for the storm has inched slightly east closer to Florida. That stayed steady for the 5 p.m. advisory.

McCranie said all of Central Florida is in the “cone of uncertainty” but that the National Hurricane Center continues to stress that there is still low confidence in the current track.

The storm is expected to continue to move fast over the next few days.

On the forecast track, the National Hurricane Center said Elsa will move across the eastern Caribbean Sea late Friday and move near the southern coast of Hispaniola on Saturday.

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Forecasters expect Elsa to move near Jamaica and portions of eastern Cuba by Sunday.

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Central Florida remains in the “cone of uncertainty.” The storm is still too far out to pinpoint where exactly it will go.

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Watch “Calm Before the Storm,” Channel 9′s hurricane special, below:

Sarah Wilson

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.

Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

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

Rusty McCranie

Rusty McCranie, WFTV.com

Coming to Eyewitness News is coming back home for me.