Elsa to develop into Category 1 hurricane as it makes landfall in Florida

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Now a tropical storm, Elsa is forecast to gain strength and develop into a Category 1 hurricane before it hits the land along the west coast of Florida.

It is expected to make a landfall close to Cedar Key at around 8 or 9 a.m.

Winds that can blow up to 75 mph at landfall are expected, which places Elsa under the hurricane category having 74 mph or higher winds.

Elsa’s path is winding Miami where rescue operations are underway to retrieve more victims trapped in the collapsed Surfside condominium building.

According to Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava on Tuesday, search and rescue operations went on overnight amid the rain and wind.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said that the wind has obstructed huge cranes that worked to transfer heavy rubble.

While a tornado watch has been released through 11 p.m. from Miami to Tampa, a hurricane warning was issued along the northern Gulf Coast of Florida.

As Elsa is moving closer, classes at the University of Florida in Gainesville have been called off for Wednesday.

Air travel was also affected, as Elsa suspended operations from 5 p.m. Tuesday until 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Tampa International Airport. The suspension was also placed from 6:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. at Sarasota Bradenton International Airport.

Along Florida’s Gulf Coast, storm surge could go as high as 3 to 5 feet.

Rainfall totals may also increase to 6 to 8 inches across Georgia, Carolinas and Florida through Thursday.

According to Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez on Tuesday, the ground in several parts of the Sunshine State is already drenched following the last two week’s 300 percent rise in rain, ABC News reported.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told residents to be ready for loss of power for the next few days.

Elsa will lose its strength and become a tropical depression after dashing through Florida, and will move through Georgia, Savannah, and Charleston, South Carolina.