The U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) reported Thursday that Elsa remains a tropical storm as it has moves through the southeastern United States, dumping heavy rain and raising the threat of flooding as it moves northeastward.
In its latest report, the National Hurricane Center said Elsa was centered in northern South Carolina about 75 kilometers west of the city of Florence and moving to the northeast at about 30 kilometers per hour. It still has maximum sustained winds of about 65 km/h and could drop as much as 20 centimeters of rain in some isolated areas, raising the possibility of flooding in some areas.
Tropical storm warnings are in effect for an area of the U.S. East Coast from South Carolina north to New Jersey. Those areas are likely to see tropical storm conditions including high winds and heavy rains in the next 24 to 36 hours. The storm system could also spawn tornados as it moves through the region.
The NWS says Elsa could move over the Atlantic Ocean later Thursday as it moves to or near the coast of Virginia and some strengthening is possible.
Elsa came ashore from the Gulf of Mexico in northwest Florida Wednesday after briefly reaching hurricane strength the night before. Officials there say the storm left about 26,000 people without power but caused little significant property damage and no serious injuries.
The storm was a hurricane as it moved through the Caribbean Sea late last week. It swept over Cuba’s south-central coast Monday, bringing strong winds, heavy rains and storm surges.
Cuban officials said they had evacuated 180,000 people from homes in flood-prone areas.