A tropical storm warning is in effect in parts of Cuba and Jamaica, as well as parts of the US state of Florida.
Cuba has evacuated 70,000 people in the southern region of the island as Tropical Storm Elsa could cause severe flooding after three people died in the Caribbean in the wake of the storm.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for several Cuban provinces, including Havana, as well as Jamaica, the Florida Keys and the southwest coast of Florida, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami announced Sunday morning.
The Cuban government opened shelters and took measures to protect the sugarcane and cocoa crops before the storm. Most of the evacuees went to relatives, while around 23,000 people took refuge in government facilities.
The storm recorded maximum winds of 95 kilometers per hour (60 miles per hour), the NHC said on Sunday at 11 a.m. (3 p.m. GMT), but these could strengthen throughout the day and into Sunday evening. approaching the south-central coast of Cuba. .
“However, a gradual weakening is expected to occur on Monday as Elsa crosses Cuba. Following Elsa’s emergence over the Straits of Florida and the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, a slight strengthening is possible,” said the ‘agency.
Elsa was a Category 1 hurricane until Saturday morning, causing widespread damage to several eastern Caribbean islands on Friday as the first hurricane of the Atlantic season.
The storm killed one person in Saint Lucia, according to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency.
Meanwhile, a 15-year-old boy and a 75-year-old woman died in separate events in the Dominican Republic on Saturday after walls collapsed on them, according to a statement from the Emergency Operations Center.
Barbados has also been among the hardest hit areas, with more than 1,100 people reporting damaged homes, including 62 homes that completely collapsed as the government pledged to find and fund temporary housing to avoid regrouping. people in shelters amid the pandemic.
Felling trees have also been reported in Haiti, which is particularly vulnerable to flooding and landslides due to widespread erosion and deforestation.
At 11:00 a.m.ET (3:00 p.m. GMT) on Sunday, the center of the storm was about 80 km (50 miles) north of Jamaica’s capital, Kingston.
Elsa is expected to bring up to 20cm (8 inches) of rain in Jamaica, with some areas reaching 38cm (15 inches), while Cuba could see storm surges of up to 1.5 meters (5 feet) in some areas.