Tropical Storm Elsa gaining strength, lashing Florida Keys

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Tropical Storm Elsa
July 6, 2021; Credit: NOAA

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – The National Hurricane Center says weather conditions in southern Florida have begun to deteriorate as Tropical Storm Elsa moves toward the Florida Keys.

Elsa’s top winds stood at 60 mph, and a hurricane watch is in effect Tuesday for parts of Florida’s Gulf coast. It’s complicating the search effort at the collapsed condo in Surfside, and could be near hurricane strength before it makes landfall somewhere between Tampa Bay and the Big Bend.

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Forecasters also warn that it could push a storm surge of water into Tampa Bay neighborhoods.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has expanded a state of emergency to cover a dozen counties. Tampa International Airport plans to shut down Tuesday at 5 p.m.

By CURT ANDERSON and FREIDA FRISARO, Associated Press

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