(NEW YORK) — More than 50 million Americans were under a flash flood watch on Friday as Elsa, now a post-tropical cyclone, batters the East Coast with heavy rainfall and gusty winds.
After making landfall in Florida and pummeling the southeastern United States, Elsa is moving north with the eye of the storm sweeping over the coastlines of Delaware, New Jersey and New York on Friday morning before reaching Massachusetts this afternoon, according to the latest forecast from the National Weather Service.
As of 2 p.m. ET, Elsa was moving to the northeast at 31 miles per hour with its center located just outside of Boston. The deadly storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour, with even higher gusts.
The National Weather Service said it doesn’t anticipate a significant change in Elsa’s strength through Friday. The storm has weakened from the first hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic season. Elsa is expected to move offshore from the northeastern U.S. coast by Friday evening before heading to Canada’s Atlantic provinces by late Friday night and Saturday. The storm is then forecast to gradually weaken over the weekend.
Flash flood watches are still in effect for the Mid-Atlantic and northeastern regions, from Virginia to Maine. That includes several major cities, such as Philadelphia, New York City and Boston. The storm’s current track shows it hugging the northeast coastline, with those areas expected to see the heaviest rainfall.
Much of the Northeast is forecast to receive 2 to 4 inches of rain through Friday, with up to 6 inches possible in parts of New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. That could trigger “considerable flash and urban flooding,” the National Weather Service warned.
The tropical storm warning has been discontinued for all of Long Island and the coast of New England west of Watch Hill, Rhode Island.
Meanwhile, a “tornado or two” will be possible over parts of Long Island and southeastern New England through early Friday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
Severe weather has already disrupted flight schedules at LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. The city has also closed its mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinics through Friday due to the forecast.
New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority said there were system-wide delays for buses due to Elsa and that the storm could impact service along some subway and rail lines. Also, empty tractor-trailers and tandem trucks were banned on the seven bridges and two tunnels that the MTA manages until at least noon on Friday due to the weather.
At least four deaths have been attributed to Elsa since it formed in the Atlantic Ocean earlier this month.
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