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Tropical Storm ELSA

Tropical Storm Elsa Discussion Number  13
NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL       AL052021
1100 AM EDT Sat Jul 03 2021

Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft and 
satellite imagery indicate that Elsa has weakened some since the 
last advisory.  The aircraft reported maximum 700-mb flight-level 
winds of 64 kt well to the northeast of the center, and maximum 
surface winds estimates from the SFMR  of about 55 kt.  The 
aircraft-reported central pressure is near 999 mb and gradually 
rising,  In addition, the center was exposed for a few hours, 
although it is now located at the northwestern edge of a new 
convective burst.  Based on the aircraft data, the initial intensity 
is reduced to 60 kt.

The initial motion is now 295/25.  Elsa is approaching a weakness in 
the subtropical ridge caused by a large baroclinic trough over the 
eastern United States.  The global models forecast this trough to 
move eastward into the Atlantic, but the southern portion is likely 
to split off and become an upper-level low pressure area over the 
western Gulf of Mexico, with the subtropical ridge over the Atlantic 
situated to the east of the this low.  This evolution should cause 
Elsa to slow its current breakneck forward speed during the next day 
or so, then turn northwestward between 36-60 h, followed by a 
general northward motion from 72-96 h and recurvature into the 
westerlies after that time.  The track guidance is in much better 
agreement than this time yesterday, and Elsa is expected to pass 
near or over southwestern Haiti, Cuba, and the eastern Gulf of 
Mexico or the Florida Peninsula during the next 3 days or so.  After 
that, the system is likely to cross portions of the southeastern 
United States on its way into the Atlantic.  The new NHC forecast 
track has only minor adjustments from the previous one, and it lies 
near the various consensus models.

Elsa continues to be affected by northwesterly shear that is at 
least partly due to the fast forward motion.  While the forward 
speed is forecast to decrease over the next few days, continued 
westerly shear and land interaction are expected to cause additional 
weakening.  Indeed, by 60 h, the GFS, UKMET, and ECMWF show Elsa as 
a weak system with some separation between the low- and mid-level 
centers.  While some shear is likely to continue when the storm is 
near or over the eastern Gulf of Mexico, upper-level divergence 
associated with the aforementioned upper-level low could allow for 
some re-intensification.  The new NHC intensity forecast calls for 
more weakening in the first 48 h than previously forecast and then 
shows re-intensification over the Gulf of Mexico.  Through the first 
72 h, the forecast is at the upper edge of the intensity guidance.

Although Elsa is now a tropical storm, hurricane warnings remain in 
effect for portions of the Dominican Republic and Haiti at this 
time, as conditions have not yet reached their worst there and the 
possibility that a short-lived re-intensification might occur due 
to a convective burst.

Given that there is still uncertainty in the track forecast and the
degree of land interaction with Hispaniola and Cuba, users are
urged to factor in some of this uncertainty.  For reference, average 
NHC track errors at days 3 and 4 are 125 miles and 150 miles, 
respectively.  The average NHC intensity errors are around 15 mph 
for both days 3 and 4.
Key Messages:
1. A hurricane warning remains in effect for portions of Haiti and 
the Dominican Republic, where near-hurricane conditions and 
dangerous storm surge are expected through this evening. 

2. Widespread heavy rain will move across southern Hispaniola and 
Jamaica today into Sunday where isolated to scattered flash flooding 
and mudslides will be possible. Heavy rain will impact the Cayman 
Islands and Cuba Sunday into Monday, resulting in significant 
flooding and mudslides over Cuba. As Elsa approaches the Florida 
Keys and southern Florida early next week, isolated flash flooding 
and minor river flooding will be possible.
3. Tropical storm conditions and dangerous storm surge are expected 
with hurricane conditions possible in portions of eastern Cuba 
beginning early Sunday, with tropical storm conditions possible in 
central Cuba Sunday night and Monday. 
4. There is an increasing risk of tropical storm conditions, storm 
surge, and rainfall impacts beginning Monday in the Florida Keys and 
the southern Florida Peninsula. This risk will spread northward 
along the Florida Peninsula through Wednesday and reach the coasts 
of Georgia and the Carolinas Wednesday and Thursday, however 
uncertainty in the forecast remains larger than usual due to Elsa's 
potential interaction with the islands of Hispaniola and Cuba. 
Interests in Florida and along the southeast U.S. coast should 
monitor Elsa's progress and updates to the forecast.

INIT  03/1500Z 17.0N  71.6W   60 KT  70 MPH
 12H  04/0000Z 18.1N  74.0W   60 KT  70 MPH
 24H  04/1200Z 19.6N  76.7W   60 KT  70 MPH
 36H  05/0000Z 21.2N  78.9W   55 KT  65 MPH
 48H  05/1200Z 22.7N  80.5W   45 KT  50 MPH...INLAND
 60H  06/0000Z 24.0N  81.8W   50 KT  60 MPH...OVER WATER
 72H  06/1200Z 25.9N  82.5W   55 KT  65 MPH
 96H  07/1200Z 30.0N  82.5W   50 KT  60 MPH...INLAND
120H  08/1200Z 35.0N  78.0W   35 KT  40 MPH...INLAND
Forecaster Beven