Updated Jul 5, 2021 - Science

Tropical Storm Elsa closes in on Cuba and Florida: 180,000 Cubans evacuated

People watches the strong waves during the passage of storm Elsa at the Malecón in Santo Domingo, on July 3

Tropica Storm Elsa producing strong waves at the Malecón in Santo Domingo on Saturday. Photo: Erika Santelices/AFP via Getty Images

Officials in Cuba evacuated 180,000 residents amid concerns about flooding from the deadly Tropical Storm Elsa, as it brushed along the nation's southern region on Monday, per AP.

The latest: Elsa was packing maximum sustained winds of 65 mph 245 miles southeast of Havana about 2a.m. Monday and was expected to weaken while passing over central Cuba later in the day before heading toward the Florida Straits in the evening, according to the National Hurricane Center.

What to expect: The storm is forecast to pass near the Florida Keys early Tuesday and move near or over parts of Florida's west coast of Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday.

  • "Slight restrengthening is possible after Elsa moves over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico," the National Hurricane Center said.

State of play: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Saturday declared a state of emergency in 15 counties including Miami-Dade, where crews conducted a controlled demolition to remove the parts of a Surfside, Florida, condo that partially collapsed last month.

The big picture: Elsa strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane on Friday before weakening into a tropical storm Saturday.

  • Two people died as the storm lashed the Dominican Republic Saturday, AP notes. Another death and substantial damage was also reported in St. Lucia.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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