Tropical Storm Elsa
Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce of the United States.

Travel Alert July 2021: Landfalls of Tropical Storm Elsa Imminent for Cuba and Florida

If Cuba and much of Florida are in your travel plans over the next few days or so, you may want to consider delaying your travel — or, at least, keep yourself updated as to the latest information pertaining to the weather — due to Tropical Storm Elsa, whose landfall is expected occur in central Cuba as soon as early in the morning tomorrow, Monday, July 5, 2021; and a landfall in Florida may occur as soon as Tuesday, July 6, 2021.

Travel Alert July 2021: Landfalls of Tropical Storm Elsa Imminent for Cuba and Florida

Tropical Storm Elsa
Source: National Hurricane Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States.

Maximum sustained winds of Tropical Storm Elsa — which is currently centered approximately 50 miles north of Kingston in Jamaica and is moving west at 13 miles per hour — are 60 miles per hour, which means that this storm is classified as a fairly strong tropical storm; and although some strengthening is possible, the storm is not expected to become a hurricane again.

A possible landfall of what was the first hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic Basin season could occur on the southern coast of central Cuba at approximately 8:00 in the morning tomorrow, Monday, July 5, 2021.

A tropical storm warning is currently in effect for the provinces of Camaguey, Granma, Guantanamo, Holguin,
Las Tunas, Santiago de Cuba, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara, Cienfuegos, Matanzas, Mayabeque, and Havana in Cuba; Jamaica; and the Florida Keys from Craig Key westward to the Dry Tortugas.

A tropical storm watch is currently in effect for the islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman; for the province of Artemisa in Cuba; for the Florida Keys from Craig Key eastward to Ocean Reef, which includes Florida Bay; and for the southwest coast of Florida from Flamingo to Bonita Beach.

A storm surge will increase water levels by as much as five feet above normal tide levels in areas of onshore winds along the southern coast of Cuba; by as much as three feet in Florida from Bonita Beach to Flamingo; and by as much as two feet in Florida from Ocean Reef to the Dry Tortugas, which includes Florida Bay.

Rainfall totals of between four inches and eight inches — with maximum amounts of 15 inches of rain — is forecast across central Cuba, which could result in significant flash flooding and mudslides.

Additionally, rainfall of up to four inches of rain — with localized amounts of up to six inches — is expected in portions of Florida, which may lead to isolated flash flooding and minor river flooding.

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to or from Cuba and much of Florida over the next few days or so, expect delays and cancellations of flights. Keep up to date on the latest information pertaining to this tropical weather system which may adversely affect your travel plans. Better yet, postponing or canceling your trip might be a better option — no matter which mode of travel you plan on taking.

If you have a flight scheduled, your flight may be delayed or canceled — and you may be eligible for a waiver of a fee to change your itinerary.

Here are three airlines which have issued travel alerts as a result of this tropical weather system:

  • American Airlines has issued travel alerts for:
  • United Airlines has issued travel alerts for eight airports in Florida for Monday, July 5, 2021 through Wednesday, July 7, 2021; and Wednesday, July 14, 2021 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Southwest Airlines has issued travel alerts for:
    • Fort Myers, Tampa, and Sarasota and Bradenton for Monday, July 5, 2021 through Tuesday, July 6, 2021; and Tuesday, July 20, 2021 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Jamaica for Sunday, July 4, 2021; and Sunday, July 18, 2021 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.

Summary

Do not be surprised if more travel alerts are issued by more airlines as Tropical Storm Elsa progresses along its track over the coming days, as it is likely to affect much of Florida as a tropical storm by as early as Tuesday, July 6, 2021.

Be sure to contact your airline or transportation provider for the latest information pertaining to your travels — if they are adversely affected — and please: travel safely.

Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce of the United States.

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