Florida's Gulf Coast has been placed under a tropical storm warning, with forecasters warning that Tropical Storm Elsa is expected to impact the Florida Keys late Monday and move across or near the coast Tuesday and Wednesday. The warning has been extended as far north as the Tampa Bay area, with 15 counties now under a state of emergency, USA Today reports. Elsa weakened from a hurricane early Saturday after causing major damage in several Caribbean countries, including Barbados. Officials say the storm killed one person in St. Lucia and two in the Dominican Republic, reports the AP. Some 180,000 people in Cuba fled their homes ahead of an expected landfall on the country's central southern shore Monday afternoon.
The storm is expected to weaken further over Cuba before potentially regaining strength as it passes between the island and the Keys, reports the Tampa Bay Times. "All Floridians should prepare for the possibility of heavy rain, flooding and potential power outages," DeSantis tweeted Monday. "Now is the time to restock your supplies and review your hurricane plan." The National Hurricane Center says some parts of Florida can expect up to 6 inches of rain. The center says heavy rain could cause flooding in Georgia and the Carolinas later in the week. (Elsa is the earliest E-named Atlantic storm on record.)