(NEW YORK) — Tropical storm Elsa is drenching Key West, Florida, Tuesday morning as it nears landfall by Tampa Bay.
The tropical storm’s path is sparing Miami, where rescuers are still searching for victims of the deadly Surfside condo collapse.
Elsa will pass the Tampa Bay area overnight Tuesday into Wednesday and is forecast to make landfall just north of Tampa Bay before sunrise.
Tampa International Airport is suspending operations at 5 p.m. Tuesday with plans to resume at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Elsa’s winds are expected to reach 70 mph at the time of landfall; storms need winds 74 mph or higher to be considered a hurricane.
Storm surge could reach 5 feet around Tampa Bay, an area very susceptible to flooding due to the coastal, low-lying topography.
The heaviest rainfall — 6 to 10 inches — will be north of Tampa.
Flooding is possible for most of Florida — from Naples to Jacksonville — and could extend into Georgia.
Residents should be prepared to be without power for the next few days, but widespread evacuations aren’t expected, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday.
After barreling through Florida, Elsa will join a cold front and will become a hybrid storm system, bringing heavy rain and gusty winds to Georgia, the Carolinas and the mid-Atlantic by later in the week.
Elsa is expected to reemerge off the New Jersey coast, dropping heavy rain and winds on Atlantic City, New York City, Long Island, Boston and Cape Cod.
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