Farewell, Elsa. The tropical storm that strengthened twice to a Category 1 hurricane before weakening again to a tropical storm took aim at northeast Florida and southeast Georgia Wednesday, leaving behind damage, injuries and sadly, claimed the life of one person in Jacksonville.
Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says the storm is now becoming caught in the mid-latitude flow over the U.S. and will continue northeast and accelerate, moving across the Carolinas to Chesapeake Bay through Thursday, to near coastal New England Friday mostly as a minimal tropical storm. It will then move near and east of Newfoundland, where it will become a post-tropical low pressure area.
Locally, Jacksonville and surrounding areas experienced heavy wind and rainfall, flooding and isolated tornadoes. Peak wind gusts were generally between 30 and 50 mph and rainfall averaged 1-3 inches, while a few areas had 3-6 inches. Elsa’s impact caused trees to fall, damaged homes and cars, left dozens without power and left behind several trails of debris.
During the storm, a large branch from a tree fell onto two cars on Roosevelt Boulevard in Jacksonville, leaving one person dead.
The First Alert Weather team confirmed three tornadoes Wednesday -- one in Duval, one in Camden and one in Columbia counties.
Action News Jax reported when the first tornado touched down that morning near State Road 47 and Raven Lane in Lake City. It was given an EF-0 rating. According to the First Alert Weather team, the EF scale is a set of wind estimates based on damage. An EF-0 rating implies that the tornado’s wind speeds were between 65-85 mph.
Storm surveyors in Duval County have preliminary assigned the second tornado, that was spotted in the Philips Highway area just west of I-95 in Jacksonville, an EF-1 rating, implying its wind speeds were between 86-110 mph.
Surveillance video shown below captured it outside of Cannon’s on Richard Street.
A preliminary National Weather Service survey found EF-2 damage from the third tornado that ripped through a RV park near Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Camden County, Georgia around 5:44 p.m. Wednesday. An EF-2 rating means the tornado’s wind speeds were between 111-135 mph. That tornado had wind speeds at 128 mph. It caused several RVs to flip over and left at least 10 people hurt.
Flooding began to impact low-lying driveways and access roads along Creek Street, Black Creek Drive and Lightning Lane. Docks and other low lying property along the creek also began to flood.
Local communities are now cleaning up the storm damage Elsa left behind. Though Elsa eventually weakened, it was the hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic season. The next named storm of the season would be Fred.
See more photos and videos of Elsa’s impacts to the northeast Florida and southeast Georgia area below:
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