July 4, 2021 9:04:10 pm
Tropical storm Elsa hit the southern coast of the Dominican Republic, killing at least two people on Saturday.
Another death was reported in St. Lucia, according to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency.
The tropical storm, downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane, is now heading for Cuba and then onto Florida, in the US, sustaining winds at 70 miles per hour (110 kph).
Cuba and Florida brace for Elsa
The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said there was “some slight strengthening possible Sunday afternoon as Elsa approaches the south-central coast of Cuba.”
A hurricane watch was issued for the Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Granma, Guantanamo, Holguin, Las Tunas, and Santiago de Cuba.
In preparation, the Cuban government opened shelters and moved to protect sugarcane and cocoa crops. Local media reported that ranchers moved livestock to higher ground and farmers harvested what crops they could.
Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, declared a state of emergency in 15 counties, including in Miami-Dade County where the high-rise Surfside condominium building collapsed last week. The storm is expected to hold up search, rescue and recovery efforts.
Elsa causes widespread damage
The Haitian Emergency Operations Center said a 15-year-old boy and a 75-year-old woman died in separate events after walls collapsed on them in the southwestern Bahoruco province.
A hurricane warning remains in effect from the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince to the southern border with the Dominican Republic.
In the neighboring Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, authorities opened more than 2,400 shelters as forecasters warned of heavy rains.
At least 43 houses and three police stations were damaged in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, officials reported. “We expect that this number will increase as reports keep coming in,” said Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.
Barbados was among the hardest countries hit by Elsa, with over 1,100 people reported damaged houses, including 62 homes that completely collapsed.
“This is a hurricane that has hit us for the first time in 66 years,” Prime Minister Mia Mottley said Saturday. “There is no doubt this is urgent.”
Barbados suspended classes until Wednesday and expected to reopen its international airport on Sunday.
What’s next for Elsa?
A gradual weakening of Elsa’s forward speed was expected Sunday night and Monday with the storm near or over Cuba, according to the NHC.
Elsa is forecast to approach south Florida by Tuesday. Some models showed it would spin into the Gulf or up the Atlantic Coast.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.