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Photo: CIRA/RAAMB

Elsa strengthened into the first hurricane of the Atlantic season on Friday, threatening parts of the Caribbean as a Category 1 storm.

Why it matters: Elsa is the earliest fifth-named storm on record. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted an above-average storm season in the Atlantic this year.

The latest: A hurricane warning was issued for parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti early Friday afternoon, per the National Hurricane Center.

  • The storm had maximum sustained winds of 85 mph.
  • A tropical storm warning was in effect for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, Jamaica and parts of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
  • "Elsa is expected to produce rainfall totals of 4 to 8 inches with maximum amounts of 15 inches today across the Windward and southern Leeward Islands, including Barbados," NOAA said Friday afternoon.
  • Outer rain bands from the storm will impact Puerto Rico late Friday into Saturday, NOAA said, adding that flooding and mudslides are possible.
  • NOAA added there is a "risk of storm surge, wind and rainfall impacts in the Florida Keys and portions of the Florida Peninsula early next week. However, the forecast uncertainty remains larger than usual."

Our thought bubble via Axios climate and energy reporter Andrew Freedman: Both the intensity and track forecast for Hurricane Elsa have a higher amount of uncertainty than we typically see at this time range.

  • How much the storm interacts with land, particularly the higher elevations of Hispaniola, may determine how strong the storm is if it directly affects Florida.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information.

Go deeper

Oct 6, 2021 - Science

European rainfall record set in Italy after 12-hour deluge

Flooding in the Liguria region of Italy on Monday. Photo: Liguria President Giovanni Toti/Facebook

Northwestern Italy has been hit by record rainfall from a complex of thunderstorms, triggering flooding and mudslides, per AP.

By the numbers: 29.2 inches of rain fell in 12 hours on Monday in Rossiglione, Genoa province, just south of Milan. That's a new, all-time European record, meteorologists noted Tuesday.

Updated 9 mins ago - Economy & Business

Tax season nightmare ahead for understaffed IRS

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The IRS will start accepting 2021 tax returns in less than a week, and the filing delays and administrative headaches to come might eclipse last year — which was “one of the worst filing seasons," according to an independent advocacy agency within the IRS.

Why it matters: For taxpayers, especially with complex or paper filings, this means headaches, delayed refunds, and mistakes.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.

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