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Tropical storm Elsa rages through US East Coast

July 9, 2021

At least one person was reported dead in Florida during the storm, and a possible tornado hit a Georgia Navy base.

New York City skyline shrouded in rain clouds
Elsa is expected to peter out on Friday evening after causing havoc along the east coastImage: Timothy A. Clary/AFP

Travel in New York City was severely disrupted on Friday as tropical storm Elsa caused flooding in several subway stations and on major roads.

Large sections of the US eastern seaboard, from Delaware to Massachusetts were under a storm warning as Elsa moved north, bringing with her 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) of rainfall that were expected to continue during Friday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Locals took to Twitter to share videos of the flooding, including one video of an individual wading through waist-high water in a New York subway station.

The storm passed through North and South Carolina on Thursday after one person was reported dead in Florida and 10 were injured in Georgia. Elsa had killed several people while making its way across the Caribbean.

Elsa had been downgraded from Category 1 hurricane to tropical storm, then gained its strength back before weakening again on Wednesday. Experts said it would likely degrade to a post-tropical storm by Friday night.

Flooded streets in New York City
Despite efforts to prepare the city, New York remains particularly vulnerable to climate change-induced stormsImage: Stephen Smith/REUTERS

How much damage has Elsa caused?

Around 25,000 homes and businesses along the east coast had been left without power on Friday morning, the website poweroutages.us reported.

A US Navy base was reportedly hit by a tornado caused by the storm on Thursday. Officials said there were multiple injuries and damage to buildings and vehicles, but no damage to any "sensitive assets or submarines."  

Local media reported at least 10 injuries in the incident.

In Florida, one person was killed on Wednesday when a tree fell and struck two cars, the AP news agency reported, citing local authorities.

The storm also complicated recovery efforts at the collapsed apartment building in Miami, where the rescue mission transitioned to a recovery operation.

There were reports of power outages in tens of thousands of homes and businesses on either side of the Georgia-Florida state line. 

Where is Elsa headed?

Elsa had been expected to move over to North Carolina later on Thursday before passing near the eastern mid-Atlantic states and moves near or over the northeastern US on Friday.

NHC forecast heavy rains and flash flooding along the Texas Gulf. 

The US National Weather Service in New York warned that the southeastern Long Island could see sustained tropical-storm-force winds late Thursday night and into Friday morning.

The storm is on route to reach eastern Canada by Saturday.

ab, fb/dj (AP, Reuters, AFP)