Tropical Storm Watch Issued for Middle and Lower Florida Keys for Elsa – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Governor Ron DeSantis issued a state of emergency for several Florida counties, including Miami-Dade and Monroe in preparation for Tropical Storm Elsa, which swept past Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Saturday, threatening to cause flooding and landslides before settling on Cuba and Florida. aimed. .

The National Hurricane Center issued the first tropical storm watch for the US Saturday night in the middle and lower Florida Keys from Craig Key west to the Dry Tortugas.

According to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Elsa had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph while moving west-northwest at 17 mph about 175 miles east-southeast of Montego Bay, Jamaica.

The final prediction trail for Elsa shifted west, taking most of South Florida out of the cone of concern.

The long-term forecast showed it headed toward Florida on Tuesday morning as a tropical storm, but some models would carry it into the Gulf or Atlantic coast.

In addition to Miami-Dade and Monroe, DeSantis issued a state of emergency for 13 other counties.

“We are preparing for the risk of isolated tornadoes, storm surge, heavy rainfall and flash flooding,” DeSantis said at a news conference Saturday night.

The storm reportedly killed three people.

In Haiti, authorities used social media to warn people about the storm and urged them to evacuate if they lived near water or mountainsides.

“The entire country is under threat,” the Civil Protection Agency said in a statement. “Do everything you can to escape before it’s too late.”

Haiti is particularly vulnerable to flooding and landslides due to widespread erosion and deforestation. In addition, a recent spike in gang violence has forced thousands of people to flee their homes, so the civil defense agency is running out of basic supplies, including food and water, director Jerry Chandler told The Associated Press.

“It has now been three weeks since we supported families fleeing gang violence,” he said. “We are in the process of renewing our stocks, but the biggest problem is logistics.”

He said officials are still trying to figure out how to deliver supplies to Haiti’s southern region, bracing for Elsa’s impact.

Meanwhile, people bought water and food before the storm approached.

“I protect myself as best I can. Civil defense isn’t going to do that for me,” said Darlene Jean-Pierre, 35, buying six pitchers of water along with fruits and vegetables. “I have other concerns about the street… I have to worry about gangs fighting. We also have a hurricane. I don’t know what disaster this will cause.”

A hurricane watch was issued for the Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Granma, Guantanamo, Holguin, Las Tunas and Santiago de Cuba. Some of those counties have reported high numbers of COVID-19 infections, raising concerns that the storm could force large groups of people to seek shelter together.

“Anticipation is the key,” Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel said, adding that vaccination efforts would continue. “Let’s take care of lives and property.

In the neighboring Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, authorities have opened more than 2,400 shelters as forecasters warned of heavy rains. Officials also ordered evacuations ahead of the storm as people continued to stock up.

Some were concerned about the condition of their homes, and many lived under corrugated iron roofs.

“I have a lot of leaks in my zinc,” said María Ramos. “What are we going to do? Only God knows.”

The storm had already ripped off roofs, destroyed crops and knocked down trees and power lines in the eastern Caribbean on Friday, with damage reported in Barbados, St. Lucia and in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which also suffered from massive volcanic eruptions that began in April.

At least 43 homes and three police stations were damaged, St. Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said.

“We expect this number to increase as the reports continue to come in,” he said. “We have some damage, but it could have been a lot worse.”

In St. Lucia, winds damaged a high school, pelted desks, knocked over chairs and flung papers into the air after the roof and siding had blown off. Officials also reported significant roof damage, including extensive damage to three government buildings.

A similar report came from Barbados, where more than 580 roofs were damaged, dozens of trees and power lines fell and about 50% of customers were still without power, according to emergency services.

Meanwhile, authorities in Puerto Rico rescued eight people, including two children, in stormy conditions after their boat sank amid waves of 8 to 10 feet.

Elsa was the first hurricane of the Atlantic season and the earliest fifth named storm ever. 4 to 8 inches of rain is predicted to fall with a maximum of 15 inches over parts of southern Hispaniola and Jamaica.

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