Weaker, slower Elsa retains tropical storm status as nearly all of NC in forecast path

Tracking the Tropics

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – While our weather will be quiet for the Fourth of July Weekend, now Tropical Storm Elsa is still projected to impact North Carolina later next week. The National Hurricane Center’s 11 p.m. advisory on Saturday has nearly all of the state in the forecast cone.

As of 11 p.m. Saturday, Elsa was a strong tropical storm with 65 mph winds and higher gusts. That is down from 70 mph winds earlier Saturday.

No drastic change in strength is expected through Saturday night, but some weakening is forecast Sunday and Monday as the tropical system moves near Hispaniola and over Cuba.

The hurricane is currently 175 miles east-southeast of Montego Bay, Jamaica. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles mainly to the north of the center.

Tropical Storm Elsa was moving west-northwest at about 17 mph, the NHC said. The 5 p.m. report had Elsa moving at nearly 30 mph.

“An additional decrease in forward speed is expected tonight and on Sunday, followed by a turn toward the northwest Sunday night or Monday,” the National Hurricane Center wrote Saturday night.

Elsa is the fifth named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, after AnaBillClaudette and Danny.

Dr. Philip Klotzbach with Colorado State University said Elsa is the earliest fifth named storm on record. The previous record was set last year by Edouard, which formed July 6.

Puerto Rico is forecast to receive 1 to 3 inches of rain with localized amounts of 5 inches expected.

There is still uncertainty with Elsa and potential impacts here in central North Carolina. Keep checking back for updates on Elsa and what to expect here at home.

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