Tropics Tracker: Here’s what we know about Elsa

Something to watch into the middle of next week

Elsa's Steering
Elsa's Steering

ORLANDO, Fla. – Right off the bat, there is still a lot to be ironed out with Tropical Storm Elsa. The center of Elsa is still poorly defined and until a defined center develops, high uncertainty in the track and therefore the intensity will remain.

Florida is in the “cone” but right now it’s best to just take the wait and see approach until we get into the weekend. It’s at that time the storm will enter the Caribbean and more should be known about where Elsa is headed.

It's a good idea to stay to date with the latest on Elsa.

Oh and don’t stress yourself out with those spaghetti plots, they are all over the place!

Here’s what we know with Elsa:

Elsa is moving extremely fast, more than double a typical tropical system’s speed. It becomes harder for a system to consolidate and strengthen when it is traveling that fast.

Elsa has begun to wrap in dry air to its core. Thunderstorms have been firing along the eastern side of Elsa but have been unable to wrap thunderstorms all the way around its center.

Dry air, (brown) is being ingested to Elsa (colors)

The reason is because of the dry air due to Saharan dust infiltrating the northern and western sides of the storm. This will help to limit strengthening over the coming days.

Steering:

The Bermuda High is pushing Elsa quickly to the west. This will be the dominant steering mechanism until we get to the weekend. At that point, the storm could follow the Bermuda High and be flung back out to sea after interacting with Hispaniola or continue moving and west while slowing down as it moves toward Jamaica or Cuba. This will become more clear over the weekend.

Beyond that, interaction with the islands will be key to its track and intensity. The mountains of Cuba and Hispaniola are notorious for disrupting or even destroying tropical systems.

The bottom line is there is still a lot of uncertainty and there is no reason to panic. Over the weekend Elsa should become a little more organized and as we get more data from future hurricane hunter missions, more will be known about where the storm is headed and what potential impacts, if any, will be felt.


About the Author:

Jonathan Kegges joined the News 6 team in June 2019 as the Weekend Morning Meteorologist. Jonathan comes from Roanoke, Virginia where he covered three EF-3 tornadoes and deadly flooding brought on by Hurricanes Florence and Michael.