The first tropical storm to make its way up to the mid-Atlantic this hurricane season is on its way.
Tropical Storm Elsa made landfall on north Florida’s Gulf Coast, dumping several inches of rain and spawning tornadoes that killed at least one person. Three people died in the Caribbean before the storm made its way to the U.S., according to national reports.
A tropical storm warning has been issued for the Chesapeake Bay south of North Beach, including the tidal Potomac River sounth of Cobb Island. That means tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area. NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) predicts that Elsa will pass near the eastern mid-Atlantic states by Thursday night and into New England on Friday and Friday night.
Maximum sustained winds are near 45 miles per hour, with higher gusts, but some strengthening is possible tonight and Friday, NHC says, as these tropical storm conditions continue. There could be rain totals up to six inches through Friday, prompting flash and urban flooding or minor river flooding.
A few tornadoes could come with Elsa, NHC says, and as of Thursday afternoon, a Tornado Watch was in effect for most of the lower Chesapeake Bay and its waterways, including the Virginia waterfront up to to St. Mary’s County, Md. on the Western Shore and up to Salisbury, Md. on the Eastern Shore.
On Delaware Bay, the U..S. Coast Guard announced that the Captain of the Port has set a modified Port Condition Yankee, as the Delaware Bay will likely “experience high winds, severe thunderstorms, and increased seas, surf and tidal surge.” Boaters are advised that based on continued deteriorating weather conditions, the entrance to Delaware Bay may be closed to incoming traffic.
There have been no port condition changes so far in the Chesapeake Bay’s ports, but conditions on the water could still be dangerous for boaters, especially in smaller craft. All over the region, the Coast Guard warns boaters to stay in port or stay off the water and those who own paddle craft to secure them.
–Meg Walburn Viviano