Elsa brings torrential rain as it moves up East Coast
By The New York Times
Tropical Storm Elsa delivered heavy rain and high winds as it moved up the East Coast of the United States on Thursday, a day after the storm made landfall in Florida.
As of 11 a.m. Eastern time, Elsa was about 80 miles southwest of Raleigh, North Carolina, and moving northeast at 20 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Up to 4 inches of rain was expected in parts of North Carolina, with isolated totals of up to 6 inches, and tornadoes were possible in the eastern Carolinas and southeastern Virginia, the center said.
The storm, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, was forecast to move across the Carolinas before passing near the eastern mid-Atlantic states by Thursday evening and into the Northeast on Friday.
Tropical storm warnings were in effect along parts of the East Coast as far north as Massachusetts.
There were reports early Thursday of tornado damage across South Carolina, as residents shared pictures of downed trees and debris scattered across roadways on social media.
Elsa made landfall Wednesday morning in Taylor County, Florida, southeast of Tallahassee.
One person was killed after a tree fell and hit two cars as storms moved through north Florida on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. At least 10 people were reported injured at a submarine base in southern Georgia after a possible tornado touched down.
Elsa is the fifth named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. The first, Ana, formed May 23, making this year the seventh in a row that a named storm developed in the Atlantic before the official start of the season June 1.
Last month, Tropical Storm Claudette brought heavy rains, gusting winds and tornadoes to several states across the South, destroying dozens of homes. It was blamed for the deaths of 14 people — 10 of them children — as it moved from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast.
Claudette was closely followed by another tropical storm, Danny, which made landfall over South Carolina in late June before dissipating over Georgia.
The links between hurricanes and climate change are becoming more apparent. A warming planet can expect to experience stronger hurricanes over time, and a higher incidence of the most powerful storms — although the overall number of storms may drop, because factors like stronger wind shear might keep weaker storms from forming.
Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast that there would be 13-20 named storms this year, 6-10 of which would be hurricanes, and 3-5 major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher in the Atlantic. Last year, there were 30 named storms, including six major hurricanes, causing meteorologists to exhaust the alphabet for the second time and move to using Greek letters.
It was the highest number of storms on record, surpassing the 28 storms in 2005, and included the second-highest number of hurricanes on record.