Tropical Storm Elsa strengthened into the first hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic season on Friday morning and could hit Florida as soon as Sunday evening.
Elsa’s winds reached neared 75 miles per hour, qualifying it as a Category 1 hurricane, according to an advisory issued around 11am by the National Hurricane Center. At the time, Hurricane Elsa was about 5 miles south of St Vincent and was heading northwest at 29 mph.
A hurricane warning was issued for St Vincent, Barbados, St Lucia and the Grenadines. Schools, businesses were closed in St Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as an international airport. Barbados also saw closures as it was battered with heavy rain and wind on Thursday night.
Parts of Florida and the Florida Keys are at risk of storm surge, heavy rainfall and wind. The possible severe weather in the region could start to dissipate by Monday night, according to AccuWeather.
‘Impacts to the contiguous United States would begin Monday night at the earliest after the system passes through the Caribbean,’ AccuWeather senior meteorologist Adam Douty told USA Today. ‘Residents from the central Gulf Coast, across Florida and to the Carolina coast should monitor the progress of Elsa.’
On Friday morning, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said that the southern part of the state could experience tropical storm-grade winds as early as Sunday night. DeSantis said he was working on a possible emergency order.
On Elsa’s path is not only Florida, but also Georgia and South Carolina.
The first hurricane during the Atlantic season usually forms around August 10, according to University of Georgia meteorologist Marshall Shepherd in Forbes. Elsa is the earliest E, or fifth storm of the season, on record, coming sooner than Eduardo which formed on July 6 last year.
It is possible that Elsa could veer north and weaken, according the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network said.
Courtesy of metro.co.uk
Much of the South experienced snowfall overnight causing several state highways to close as severe gales look set to follow.
Wind would continue today with the potential for severe gales, but the weather should begin to clear tomorrow, forecasters said.
It was expected snow would fall to as low as 100m and the wind would be “bitterly cold”.
Snow settled is suburbs throughout Dunedin last night, including in the Town Belt before it was washed away by rain. Several centimetres of snow is still on the ground in the hill suburbs which contractors are in the process of clearing.
The weather caused disruptions in the South yesterday, with flights affected, and roads and schools closed as the polar blast swept through.
Snow began to fall in parts of Dunedin at 3pm yesterday.
MetService has several severe weather watches and warning still in place for today.
A heavy snow watch is in place for Fiordland south of Charles Sound.
A strong wind watch is in place for most of the South, including North Otago, Dunedin, Clutha, Southland about and south of Mossburn and Stewart Island.
The forecast for Dunedin today is showers, snow to 100m and possible squally thunderstorms before dawn, becoming isolated by afternoon with fine spells. Strong southwest, gale gusting 100 km/h in exposed places at first.
Meanwhile Queenstowners have been advised that if they do not need to drive that they shouldn’t.
The Queenstown District Council advised there was snow throughout the Wakatipu Basin and driving conditions were “extreme”.
The Crown Range Rd remains closed and the Orbus service in the town has been suspended.
Grit trucks are out and snow ploughs are being sent about the region to clear state highways and alpine roads.
If you must drive today, here’s the deal: snow chains, go slow, keep a safe following distance,” the QLDC said.
The Central Otago District Council said only essential travel should be undertaken in the Maniototo & Manuherikia area.
“Snow has fallen here, and freezing temperatures making conditions unfavourable. Crews will be focusing on the townships and sealed roads first.
Areas surrounding Roxburgh, Alexandra and Cromwell townships, especially the higher altitude roads, are heavily affected by snow and travel is not recommended.
Courtesy of odt.co.nz
Wellingtonians were woken last night by an “intense” hail storm that hammered areas of the capital in the early hours.
The icy blast came as the vanguard of a polar blast sweeping up the country from the south.
With snow blanketing much of the south, leaving numerous highways closed and even falling to sea level in Christchurch overnight, attention is turning to the north, which is starting to feel the brunt of the polar air.
20 flights have been cancelled at Wellington Airport this morning, with an airport spokesman saying that they are regularly inspecting their runway and seawalls as heavy swell batters the coast.
The polar blast brought snow to sea level in parts of the south yesterday, as well as huge seas and gales laced with a bitterly cold -20C windchill.
An active cold front and south-to-southwesterly winds will track north across the remainder of the country, with numerous weather warnings in force.
Heavy snow was possible in Taihape, around the Tararua Range and Banks Peninsula today.
A road snowfall warning is in place for the Napier-Taupō Rd (until midday Tuesday), Desert Rd (until 5pm Tuesday) and Remutaka Hill Rd (until 4pm Tuesday) in the North Island.
Residents in Wellington shared photos of the hail, saying they had been “pummelled” by the sudden downpour.
“The #hail was the size of small marbles. I’ve never seen anything like it in the time I’ve been here,” wrote Khandallah resident Brad Markham.
Courtesy of nzherald.co.nz