MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hurricane Elsa is moving northward just offshore the Tampa Bay area, spreading heavy rains and gusty winds across southwest and west-central Florida.
As of the 11 p.m. advisory, the center of Elsa is located about 65 miles southwest of Tampa.
Elsa's maximum sustained winds were 75 mph as it moved to the north at 14 mph.
At a Tuesday morning news conference, Gov. Ron DeSantis urged people in the central and northern parts of the state, along with much of the west coast, to prepare for heavy rain, gusty wind, and storm surge from Tropical Storm Elsa.
Elsa is expected to turn toward the north-northeast is expected on Wednesday, followed by a faster northeastward motion by late Thursday.
On the forecast track, Elsa will move near or over portions of the west coast of Florida later Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.
Elsa is forecast to make landfall along the north Florida Gulf coast by late Wednesday morning and then move across the southeastern United States through Thursday.
Some fluctuations in the intensity are possible until landfall occurs on Tuesday.
Weakening will begin after Elsa moves inland by late Wednesday morning.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles.
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:
- West coast of Florida from Bonita Beach to the Aucilla River, including Tampa Bay
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:
- Egmont Key to the Steinhatchee River
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:
- West coast of Florida from Chokoloskee to south of Egmont Key
- West coast of Florida north of Steinhatchee River to Ochlockonee River
- Mouth of St. Marys River, Georgia to Little River Inlet, South Carolina
A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for:
- West of the Aucilla River to the Ochlockonee River
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:
- North of Little River Inlet, South Carolina to Duck, North Carolina
- Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds
Tropical storm conditions will continue over portions of the warning area in the Florida Keys through Tuesday evening. Tropical storm conditions are expected to spread northward into west-central Florida and the Florida Big Bend region in the warning areas Tuesday night and early Wednesday.
Elsa is the earliest fifth-named storm on record.
for more features.