Storm Elsa strengthens to a hurricane off Florida – sparking fears for Surfside rescue effort

·1-min read
Hurricane Elsa is moving through the Caribbean (AP)
Hurricane Elsa is moving through the Caribbean (AP)

Storm Elsa has strengthened into a hurricane, prompting warnings in the eastern Caribbean as it continues to batter Barbados, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Elsa became the first hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic season on Friday, and the fifth named storm of the year.

It is expected to bring wind gusts of up to 70mph, while power outages and flooding are expected in Caribbean countries in the path of the storm.

The hurricane also prompted fears over rescue efforts at the collapsed Champlain Towers condo in Miami, as experts warned the hurricane could hit Florida by next week.

Parts of the southern Florida Peninsula could be hit with heavy winds and rainfall as the storm makes land.

“Impacts to the contiguous United States would begin Monday night at the earliest after the system passes through the Caribbean. Residents, visitors or those with interests from the central Gulf Coast, across Florida and to the Carolina coast should monitor the progress of Elsa,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty said.

The rescue effort at Champlain Towers has been ongoing since the building collapse on 24 June, although efforts were briefly paused while the safety of the remaining structure was assessed. At least 12 people, including children, were killed in the collapse, while almost 50 remain unaccounted for.

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