Tropical Storm Elsa gaining strength, lashing Florida Keys

The conditions in southern Florida have begun to deteriorate as Tropical Storm Elsa gained strength and took aim at the Florida Keys Tuesday morning, prompting a hurricane watch for portions of the west coast of state.

Local 10 News meteorologist Julie Durda said the system is very lopsided but there is a lot of moisture on the eastern edge of the storm.

WATCH LIVE: Gov. Ron DeSantis provides update on Tropical Storm Elsa

While we are not expecting a direct hit from Elsa in Key West, Tuesday will be a very wet and soggy day for the Middle and Lower Keys as Elsa continues its way toward northern Florida.

Effects from the outer bands in South Florida could bring flooding, storm surge and tornadic activity.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday expanded an existing state of emergency to cover a dozen counties that span an area of Florida where Elsa is expected to make a swift passage on Wednesday.

As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, Elsa’s maximum sustained winds have strengthened to 60 mph. Its core is about 55 miles west of Key West, and is moving to the north-northwest at 12 mph.

There have been no early reports of serious damage as Elsa passed over Cuba.

Below is a list of watches and warning that are currently in effect:

Storm Surge Warning:

· West coast of Florida from Bonita Beach to the Aucilla River, including Tampa Bay

Tropical Storm Warning:

· The Cuban provinces of Matanzas, Mayabeque, Havana and Artemisa

· The Florida Keys from Craig Key westward to the Dry Tortugas

· West coast of Florida from Flamingo northward to Ochlockonee River

Hurricane Watch:

· Egmont Key to the Steinhatchee River in Florida

Storm Surge Watch:

West of the Aucilla River to the Ochlockonee River in Florida.

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