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Tropical Storm Elsa Churns Toward Florida West Coast

The western coast of the U.S. state of Florida is bracing for the arrival Wednesday of Tropical Storm Elsa after dumping heavy rain on Cuba and pounding the Florida Keys.
 
Worsening weather conditions in southern Florida fueled by Elsa are hindering the search for survivors of the partial collapse of a residential building that workers fully demolished on Sunday.
 
The National Hurricane Center said late Tuesday morning that Elsa is expected to “move near or over portions of the west coast of Florida later today through tonight” before making landfall Wednesday morning “along the north Florida Gulf coast.”Tropical Storm Elsa, Back Over Water, Takes Aim at Florida  In addition to damaging winds and heavy rains, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said the peninsula was in danger of life-threatening storm surges, flooding and isolated tornadoes   
A hurricane watch was in effect late Tuesday morning along a 290 kilometer stretch of the Gulf Coast from Egmont Key in the Tampa Bay region to the Steinhatchee River, the NHC said.
 
Forecasters expect Elsa to slowly strengthen through Tuesday night and be at near-hurricane strength before making landfall in Florida, after which it is expected to weaken as it moves inland. Elsa had maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometers per hour late Tuesday morning.
 
Rainfall was expected Tuesday in the Florida Atlantic coast town of Surfside, where the residential building collapsed on June 24, killing at least 32 people. More than 100 others are still missing.
 
The NHC also warned that Elsa could bring life-threatening storm surges, flooding and isolated tornadoes.
 
“The combination of a storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline,” the NHC said. 

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