(NEW YORK) — More than 50 million Americans remain under a flash flood watch on Friday as Tropical Storm Elsa moves up the East Coast, bringing heavy rain and gusty winds.
After making landfall in Florida and pummeling the southeastern United States, Elsa is heading north with the eye of the storm sweeping over the coastlines of Delaware and New Jersey early Friday morning before it is expected to hit New York later in the morning and then Massachusetts by the afternoon, according to the latest forecast from the National Weather Service.
As of 5 a.m. ET, Elsa was moving to the northeast at 31 miles per hour with its center located about 5 miles southwest of Atlantic City, New Jersey. The storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour.
The National Weather Service said it doesn’t anticipate a significant change in Elsa’s strength through Friday and the storm is forecast to become a post-tropical cyclone by nighttime, when it is expected to head into Nova Scotia and then out to sea.
Flash flood watches are still in effect for the mid-Atlantic and northeastern regions, from Virginia to Maine. That includes several major cities, such as Philadelphia, New York City and Boston. The storm’s current track shows it hugging the northeast coastline, with those areas expected to see the heaviest rainfall.
Much of the northeast is forecast to receive 2 to 4 inches of rainfall through Friday, with up to 6 inches possible in parts of New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. That could trigger “considerable flash and urban flooding,” the National Weather Service warned.
Tropical storm warnings also remain in effect for a large swath of the East Coast, from North Carolina’s Outer Banks to Massachusetts.
Meanwhile, a “tornado or two” will be possible over parts of New York’s Long Island and southeastern New England through early Friday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
Severe weather has already disrupted flight schedules at LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City’s Queens borough. New York City has also closed its mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinics through Friday due to the forecast.
New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority said there were system-wide delays for buses due to Elsa and the storm could impact service along some subway and rail lines. Meanwhile, empty tractor-trailers and tandem trucks are banned on the seven bridges and two tunnels that the MTA manages until at least noon on Friday due to the weather.
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