(CMR) Tropical Storm Elsa was upgraded to a hurricane Friday morning as it moves closer to the Caribbean. Elsa is the first hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Although Elsa has strengthened, the path it is now predicted to take means tropical storm winds will not affect the Sister Islands. However, the Cayman Islands National Weather Service said Grand Cayman will still experience strong winds.
Heavy showers, with a higher concentration over the sister islands, are also expected to affect the islands with the possibility of flooding. NWS urges residents to monitor the progress of the hurricane and to make preparations.
According to the National Hurricane Center, at 8:30 am, the center of Hurricane Elsa was located near latitude 13.1 North, longitude 60.1 West. Elsa is moving toward the west-northwest near 28 mph (44 km/h), and this motion is expected to continue during the next couple of days.
On the forecast track, Elsa will pass near or over portions of the Windward Islands or the southern Leeward Islands this morning, move across the eastern Caribbean Sea late today and tonight and move near the southern coast of Hispaniola on Saturday.
By Sunday, Elsa is forecast to move near Jamaica and portions of eastern Cuba. Reports from Barbados indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 mph (120 km/h) with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (35 km) from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km). Barbados recently reported sustained winds of 74 mph (119 km/h) and a wind gust of 86 mph (138 km/h). The estimated minimum central pressure is 995 mb (29.39 inches). Barbados recently reported a pressure of 998 mb (29.47 inches).
Hurricane Warning is in effect for Barbados, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Martinique, the southern coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to the border with Haiti and the entire coast of Haiti. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for the Southern portion of Haiti from Port Au Prince to the southern border with the Dominican Republic. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Grenada and its dependencies, Saba and Sint Eustatius, Jamaica, and Dominica.