Image courtesy NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Elsa is making her presence felt as she continues to move away from the Windward Islands.

The latest advisory from the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service (TTMS) notes that while Elsa poses direct threat to Trinidad and Tobago, during the next 24 hours, feeder band activity will likely produce periods of rain/showers and isolated thunderstorm activity with possible gusty winds over both islands.

In addition, T&T Met Service officials warn that agitated seas around T&T can be expected during this period.

Meanwhile, a Hurricane Warning is in effect for St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the southern portion of Haiti from Port Au Prince to the southern border with the Dominican Republic, according to the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Centre (NOAA/NHC) in Miami.

In addition, a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Barbados, Martinique, Dominica, the southern coast of Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to the border with Haiti, the coast of Haiti north of Port Au Prince, and Jamaica.

NOAA/NHC says a Hurricane Watch is in effect for the south coast of the Dominican Republic from Punta Palenque to the border with Haiti, and Jamaica.

Also, a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Grenada and its dependencies, Saba and Sint Eustatius, and the north coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to Bahia de Manzanillo.

Image courtesy Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service (TTMS).

NOAA/NHC is advising interests elsewhere in the Windward Islands, Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and the Cayman Islands to monitor Hurricane Elsa’s progress, as additional watches and warnings will likely be required later today.

There is a risk of storm surge, wind, and rainfall impacts in the Florida Keys and portions of the Florida Peninsula early next week.  However, the forecast uncertainty remains larger than usual due to Elsa’s potential interaction with the Greater Antilles this weekend. Interests in Florida should monitor Elsa’s progress and updates to the forecast.

Forecast activity for Hurricane Elsa

According to the NOAA/NHC advisory, at 11 a.m. AST, the centre of Hurricane Elsa was located about 5 miles (10 km) north of St. Vincent. It is moving toward the west-northwest near 29 mph (46 km/h), and this motion is expected to continue during the next couple of days, with some decrease in forward speed expected Sunday night. 

On the forecast track, Elsa will move away from the Windward Islands during the next several hours, move across the eastern Caribbean Sea later today and tonight, and move near the southern coast of Hispaniola late Saturday or Saturday night.  By Sunday, Elsa is forecast to move near Jamaica and portions of eastern Cuba, and move near portions of central and western Cuba Sunday night and early Monday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 75 mph (120 km/h) with higher gusts.  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).  The Hewanorra Airport on St. Lucia recently reported sustained winds of 46 mph (74 km/h) and a wind gust of 79 mph (127 km/h). Little change in strength is forecast to occur during the next 48 hours. Some decrease in winds is possible on Monday as Elsa interacts with Cuba.

A storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 1 to 3 feet above normal tide levels in areas of onshore winds in the hurricane warning area in the Windward Islands and 2 to 4 feet above normal tide levels along the southern coast of Hispaniola.

Elsa is expected to produce rainfall totals of 4 to 8 inches with maximum amounts of 15 inches today across the Windward and southern Leeward Islands, including Barbados. This rain may lead to isolated flash flooding and mudslides.

Over Puerto Rico, rainfall of 1 to 3 inches with localized amounts of 5 inches is expected late today into Saturday. This rain may lead to isolated flash flooding and minor river flooding, along with the potential for mudslides.

Across portions of southern Hispaniola and Jamaica, rainfall of 4 to 8 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches is possible Saturday into Sunday.  This rain may lead to scattered flash flooding and mudslides.