Tropical Storm Elsa dropped heavy rain over Cuba and Jamaica on Sunday. At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Storm Elsa was located at latitude 19.8°N and longitude 77.9°W which put it about 15 miles (25 km) west of Cabo Cruz, Cuba. Elsa was moving toward the west-northwest at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 1009 mb.
A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the Florida Keys from Craig Key to the Dry Tortugas. Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for the Florida Keys from Craig Key to Ocean Reef including Florida Bay, and for the portion of the coast from from Flamingo to Anclote River, Florida including Tampa Bay. Hurricane Watches were in effect for the Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Granma, Guantanamo, Holguin, Las Tunas and Santiago de Cuba. Tropical Storm Warnings were also in effect for Jamaica and for the Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Granma, Guantanamo, Holguin, Las Tunas and Santiago de Cuba, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, Cienfuegos, Villa Clara, Matanzas, Maybeque, and Havana. Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for Cayman Brac, Little Cayman and the Cuban province of Artemisa.
Tropical Storm Elsa exhibited organization on visible satellite images and images from weather radars in southeastern Cuba. However, reconnaissance planes flying through Elsa on Sunday morning reported that the tropical storm was not as organized as it appeared to be on satellite and radar images. The planes found that the maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and that the minimum surface pressure had increased to 1009 mb, which was an usually high pressure for a tropical storm.
The strongest thunderstorms were occurring in bands south and east of the center of Tropical Storm Elsa. Bands in the northwestern part of Elsa consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds. Air sinking down sides of mountains in southeastern Cuba may have been inhibiting the development of thunderstorms in the northwestern quadrant of the circulation. Storms near the center of Elsa generated upper level divergence that pumped mass away from the tropical storm. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 90 miles (145 km) from the center of circulation.
Tropical Storm Elsa will move through an environment somewhat favorable for intensification during the next 18 hours. Elsa will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures are near 30°C. It will move under an upper level ridge where the winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear. Air on the northern side of Tropical Storm Elsa will pass over Cuba where friction will slow it. However, once Elsa moves west of Jamaica, air converging from the southwest will be able to blow directly toward the center of the tropical storm. A stronger flow of warm humid air from the southwest could provide more energy to the tropical storm. Tropical Storm Elsa could intensify on Monday and there is a chance it could strengthen back to a hurricane before the center moves over Cuba. Elsa will weaken when the center crosses Cuba.
Tropical Storm Elsa will move around the western end of the subtropical high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean during the next several days. The high will continue to steer Tropical Storm Elsa toward the northwest on Sunday night. Elsa will move more toward the north-northwest on Monday. On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Storm Elsa could make landfall on the south coast of Cuba near Cienfuegos on Monday afternoon. Elsa could reach the Florida Keys on Monday night. Elsa will continue to cause gusty winds and locally heavy rain over parts of Jamaica and Cuba. Heavy rain could cause flash floods in some locations.