Warnings and watches issued as Tropical Storm Elsa form east of the Caribbean

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Tropical Storm Elsa moved quickly towards the Caribbean after forming in the early hours of Thursday. Tropical storm warnings were issued for Barbados, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and the Grenadines. A tropical storm watch is in place for Guadeloupe and Grenada and its dependencies.

In an 8 a.m. bulletin, the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) also advised interests elsewhere in the Windward Islands, Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti to monitor the progress of the system as additional watches and warnings will likely be required later in the day.

At the time of that alert, Tropical Storm Elsa, carrying maximum sustained winds near 40 miles per hour, was located about 780 miles east southeast of the Windward Islands and moving west at 25 miles per hour.

“An even faster motion toward the west-northwest is expected over the next 24 to 36 hours. On the forecast track, Elsa will pass near or over portions of the Windward Islands or the southern Leeward Islands on Friday, move into the eastern Caribbean Sea late Friday and Friday night, and move near the southern coast of Hispaniola on Saturday,” the NHC said.

“Some strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days.”

Tropical storm conditions are expected in portions of the Windward and the southern Leeward Islands within the warning areas on Friday. Tropical storm conditions are possible in the watch areas on Friday.

Tropical Storm Elsa is expected to produce 3 to 6 inches of rainfall totals with maximum totals of 8 inches on Friday across the Windward and the southern Leeward Islands, including Barbados. The NHC cautioned that this rain might lead to isolated flash flooding and mudslides.

Elsa, the fifth tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, is the earliest E storm on record, beating out Edouard, which formed on July 6, 2020.

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