Hundreds of National Guardsmen are on standby in Florida in preparation for the arrival of Tropical Storm Elsa as Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) urges Floridians to remain vigilant as the storm approaches the Sunshine State.
Speaking from the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee Tuesday morning, the governor discussed the storm and its suspected impact on the Sunshine State as it inches closer to the west coast. About 200 to 250 National Guardsmen are reportedly on standby.
“It will track parallel to the West Coast of Florida today, with strong wind gusts and heavy rain, along with the potential for isolated tornadoes,” DeSantis said, emphasizing the importance of looking beyond the cone of uncertainty, as most of the rain will occur in areas east of the center of Elsa.
“It’s important that Floridians don’t focus on the cone. Impacts are expected well outside that area,” he explained, adding, “Most of the rainfall is going to be east of the center of the storm”:
8am EDT 6 July — Tropical Storm #Elsa continues to produce heavy rainfall, primarily east of the center, over portions of Cuba & the Florida Keys. Flash flooding and mudslides remain an ongoing threat for these areas this morning.
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) July 6, 2021
Nearly two dozen counties are under a Tropical Storm Warning on Florida’s west coast, and a dozen counties are also under a Storm Surge Warning, with the National Hurricane Center warning of “life-threatening storm surge along portions of the then west coast of Florida tonight and Wednesday.”
A Hurricane Watch is in effect from stretching from Pinellas County to Dixie County, according to the governor.
JUST IN: Tropical Storm WARNINGS have now been posted for Sumter County and most of Marion County. pic.twitter.com/5LuN7y9gRg
— Kellianne Klass WESH (@KellianneWX) July 6, 2021
“So if you’re in those coastal areas, begin those preparations now,” the Republican governor said. “Be prepared to be without power for a few days, having enough food and water for each person in your family, including for your pets.”
“There could be targeted low-lying areas in some of those counties,” DeSantis added. “Heed the warnings if those orders are issued or if those orders are recommended.”
Tropical Storm Elsa was located 55 miles west of Key West as of Tuesday morning. The storm currently has maximum sustained winds of 60 mph and is moving north-northwest at 12 mph.