Rainfall forecast increases up to 8 inches in affected neighborhoods

tropical storm elsa july 5 2021
A weather band rolls over the 7 Mile Bridge on July 5, part of Tropical Storm Elsa. CONTRIBUTED/Monroe County

The wind impacts of Tropical Storm Elsa will be focused mainly in the Lower Keys, from Boca Chica Naval Station south to Key West overnight with the worst weather near midnight. However, weather bands could affect the rest of the Keys from Marathon to the south with tracks of fast moving wind and rain from midnight, continuing into the morning. 

The National Hurricane Center has also upped its rainfall forecast from 2 to 4 inches to 3 to 5 inches, and as heavy as 8 inches in some Keys neighborhoods particularly affected by the bands of weather, or squalls. 

Storm surge will be limited to overwash conditions, and standing water is expected in places where water frequently ponds, such as the Winn-Dixie parking lot on Big Pine Key. 

As of 5 p.m., Tropical Storm Elsa had winds of 50 mph as it crossed over Cuba and is located approximately 130 miles south of Key West. The storm’s track will take it closer to the Dry Tortugas than Key West. Although the storm may reorganize as it emerges off Cuba and into the Straits of Florida, there is no expectation of rapid intensification. 

Chances of sustained tropical force winds in Key West and the Lower Keys are 55 to 60%. The weather on Tuesday, July 6, will clear gradually throughout the day and normal summer conditions will resume on Wednesday, July 7. 

Monroe County has told employees who work south of Craig Key to work from home. Employees who work north are told to report to work for normal operations. The Monroe County School District has cancelled school and closed facilities from Marathon south. Snake Creek Bridge in the Upper Keys will not open for marine traffic until the weather clears.

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Sara Matthis thinks community journalism is important, but not serious; likes weird and wonderful children (she has two); and occasionally tortures herself with sprint-distance triathlons, but only if she has a good chance of beating her sister.