By Kate Chappell and Marc Frank
KINGSTON (Reuters) – Tropical Storm Elsa on Sunday brought more heavy rain to Jamaica, flooding parts of the Caribbean island nation, while the weather along the southern parts of neighboring Cuba’s east coast had also started to deteriorate.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said maximum sustained winds were near 60 miles per hour (95 km per hour) with higher gusts, having downgraded Elsa from a hurricane, on Saturday.
A hurricane is defined as having winds of at least 75 mph (121 kph).
Elsa’s center was close to Jamaica, the NHC said. It was about 50 miles (80 km) north of the capital Kingston at 11 a.m. ET (1500 GMT), and heading toward Cuba.
The storm will bring 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm) of rain to the Jamaica, with some spots getting up to 15 inches (38 cm). Cuba should expect 5 to 10 inches of rain and up to 15 inches in isolated areas with storm surges of 3 to 5 feet (0.9 to 1.5 meters).
“Some strengthening is possible today and tonight as Elsa approaches the south-central coast of Cuba,” the NHC said in an advisory https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCPAT5+shtml/041158.shtml. “However, gradual weakening is forecast to occur on Monday when Elsa moves across Cuba.”
Elsa was forecast to move across central and western Cuba by Monday and head toward the Florida Straits, the NHC said, and then move near or over portions of the west coast of Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The approaching storm has forced Florida officials to begin work to demolish the remaining portion of a condo building that collapsed about 10 days ago, killing at least 24 with over 120 people missing.
(Reporting by Kate Chappell in Kingston, Jamaica, and Marc Frank in Havana, Cuba; Writing by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)