Published: 2021-07-07 09:50
Last Updated: 2021-09-26 02:27
Tropical Storm Elsa intensified Tuesday evening to become a Category 1 hurricane as it approached the coast of Florida, according to the US Meteorological Service.
The National Hurricane Center said that Hurricane Elsa is advancing at a speed of 22 km/hr, with strong winds of 120 km/hr, noting that if the hurricane continues its current path, it will pass over or near the west coast of Florida by Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
The authorities had asked residents to prepare for dangerous storms and possible power outages.
Before heading to the Gulf of Mexico, the tropical storm hit the Caribbean.
Tampa Airport had announced the suspension of commercial flights from 5pm Tuesday until at least 10am Wednesday.
"We are urging Florida residents to begin their preparations, and this includes being able to be without electricity for a few days, and having enough food and water for each family member," Florida Governor Janet Nunez said Tuesday.
"If there are evacuation orders in your area, this is for your safety," she added, announcing the opening of emergency shelters.
After killing three people in the Dominican Republic and Saint Lucia, Elsa on Monday hit Cuba with torrential rains but without causing major damage to the island.
Hurricane Elsa arrives in Florida less than two weeks after the disaster that struck the small town of Surfside, north of Miami, where part of a building collapsed on the night of June 24, killing at least 32 people. 113 others are still missing.