About 180,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes in Cuba on Sunday as Tropical Storm Elsa took aim at the island nation, and officials in Florida warned of dangerous storm conditions as the weather pattern moves toward the U.S.
Elsa had sustained winds of 65 mph early Monday morning. A hurricane warning was in effect for parts of Cuba, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the storm may strengthen as it moves toward the country. Cuban officials began evacuating residents on Sunday, as they feared the storm would bring heavy flooding, The Associated Press reported.
At least three people — one in St. Lucia and two in the Dominican Republic — have died from the storm, according to the AP.
The National Hurricane Center warned that Elsa could bring heavy rainfall and tropical storm conditions to large parts of Florida beginning Monday night, starting with the Florida Keys.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) declared a state of emergency in 15 counties and urged residents to prepare for potentially damaging conditions.
“All Floridians should prepare for the possibility of heavy rain, flooding and potential power outages,” DeSantis wrote on Twitter. “Now is the time to restock your supplies and review your hurricane plan.”
Demolition crews on Sunday felled the rest of the South Florida condo building that partially collapsed late last month. Officials said the growing threat from Tropical Storm Elsa required them to speed up the project. They were concerned that the building could fall on its own, hampering any ongoing rescue efforts and putting crews in danger.
Twenty-four people have been pronounced dead in the building collapse, and 121 are still missing.
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