Accuweather: Tropical Storm Elsa formed early Thursday morning just over 820 miles east-southeast of the Windward Islands. Elsa is the fifth tropical storm of the season in the Atlantic.
With its formation early in the morning of July 1, Tropical Storm Elsa dethroned 2020’s Tropical Storm Edouard as the earliest E-named storm in the Atlantic basin. Edouard formed July 6, 2020.
The feature, initially dubbed invest 97L by the National Hurricane Center (NHC), was labeled as Potential Tropical Cyclone Five (PTC 5) around 5 p.m. EDT Wednesday. It was then upgraded to Tropical Depression Five later Wednesday evening.
As of Thursday morning, Elsa is currently spinning about 780 miles east-southeast of the Windward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and is traveling west at 25 mph. A slight turn to the west-northwest is anticipated Thursday, and that general path is forecast to continue as the storm moves into the Caribbean this weekend.
Tropical storm watches are currently in effect for Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia and Martinique, according to the National Weather Service.
As parts of the Lesser Antilles were being affected by drenching showers and gusty thunderstorms from one tropical disturbance, dubbed 95L by the NHC, that is on AccuWeather’s “watch list.” While The 2021 E name has already been claimed, another feature still warrants watching.
AccuWeather meteorologists are concerned that Elsa could strengthen quickly into a hurricane as it approaches the Windward Islands. If it develops into a hurricane, Elsa would become the first of the 2021 Atlantic season.
This depression that became Elsa is part of a long series of similar features that roll westward from Africa across the Atlantic and often cross into the eastern Pacific. A small fraction of these waves goes on to develop into tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes under the right atmospheric conditions.