Tropical Storm Elsa edges toward US after battering Caribbean

Tropical Storm Elsa has set its sights for the U.S. after it wreaked havoc on islands in the Caribbean.

The system, which was downgraded to a tropical storm over the weekend after becoming the first hurricane in the 2021 Atlantic season, was about 50 miles southeast of Cayo Largo, Cuba, Monday morning as it headed northwest at 14 mph. Maximum sustained winds were clocking in at 65 mph.

PHOTO: People gather outdoors in Santiago de Cuba, July 4, 2021, after the danger of hurricane Elsa had passed. The eye of hurricane Elsa passed about 200 kms from the city, causing medium rainfall.

Elsa destroyed several structures in Barbados, when it hit as a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds at 74 mph on Friday.

The heavy rainfall also damaged homes in Haiti on Saturday and flooded parts of Jamaica on Sunday.

PHOTO: A man secures the roof of his house in response to Tropical Storm Elsa, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, July 3, 2021.

Elsa is expected to bring gusty winds and rain across central and western Cuba through Monday and pass near the Florida Keys with heavier rain and tropical force winds early Tuesday.

The storm will then move near or over the west coast of Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday, possible sparing recovery efforts at the site of the collapsed condo building in Surfside, Florida, near Miami Beach on the east coast of the state.

PHOTO: A Home Depot worker loads water bottles into a shopping cart as shoppers prepare for possible effects of tropical storm Elsa in Miami, July 3, 2021.

What remained of the Champlain Towers condominium was demolished Sunday night ahead of the storm.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett described Tropical Storm Elsa as a “blessing in disguise” because it fueled discussions to demolish the building left standing after the partial collapse on June 24.

PHOTO: Rescue workers continue working on a pile of debris on July 5, 2021 after the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South condo was taken down in Surfside, Fla. The building was taken down due to possible impact of approaching Tropical Storm Elsa.

Tropical storm watches and warmings have been issued in parts of Cuba and the Florida Keys, while a storm surge watch is in effect for the west coast of Florida.

By Wednesday morning, the storm will move inland inland into North Florida and parts of Georgia.

The Florida peninsula, coastal Georgia and the Carolinas should monitor the progress of the storm, as additional watches and warnings will likely be issued Monday afternoon.

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