Hurricane Elsa becomes first Atlantic hurricane of season

Elsa formed about a month ahead of the normal hurricane season.

Updated: July 2, 2021 - 1:37pm

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Hurricane Elsa on Friday morning became the first Atlantic hurricane of the 2021 season, when wind strengthened to 74 mph and gusts reached 86 mph.

The storm is about 40 miles off of Barbados and 75 miles east of St. Vincent, heading west and north-west toward Florida at 28 mph. It is not expected to strengthen in the next 48 hours, according to CNN.

Hurricane warnings are in place for Barbados, St. Vincent, St. Lucia and the Grenadines, while hurricane watches are in place from Haiti to Port Au Prince. Other nearby areas such as the Dominican Republic and Martinique are under tropical storm warnings.

Elsa developed into a hurricane about a month ahead of the normal Atlantic hurricane season, which usually starts Aug. 10, with July 19 being the earliest for tropical storms. 

Authorities do not expect Elsa to hit the mainland in Florida until Monday at the earliest, with heavy rainfall Sunday night.

Forecaster say the storm is too far out to determine whether or where it will make landfall. But Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state is already taking precautions.