DEADLY Storm Elsa shows no sign of slowing down and has even regained enough strength to be classed as a HURRICANE as it threatens to rip through Florida’s Gulf Coast with tornadoes.
The tropical storm has already claimed the lives of three people after battering Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic with 70mph winds.
Read our Hurricane Elsa live blog for the very latest news and updates on the storm…
People dash for cover as heavy winds and rain hits Key West, FloridaCredit: AP
A hurricane warning has been issued for Florida’s West Coast as Elsa heads For landfallCredit: The Weather Channel
Elsa was downgraded to a tropical storm on Saturday – but is now powerful enough to be deemed a Category 1 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Strong winds have wreaked havoc in the Sunshine State today, while potential tornadoes risk stalling rescue teams who are battling to find bodies amongst the rubble of the collapsed Miami condo.
The storm is expected to turn into a hurricane before making landfall in western Florida, according to Severe Weather Team 2 chief Meteorologist Glenn Burns.
“Things are going to deteriorate rapidly near Tampa as we move through the evening,” he said.
Parts of Florida’s Gulf Coast are bracing for a hurricane as torrential rain, flooding and even tornadoes could hit, while flights from Tampa and Sarasota have been halted.
Forecasters said potential twisters are possible across South Florida and the peninsula, the National Hurricane Center warned.
People have boarded up their businesses in Tarpon SpringsCredit: AP
Dark clouds loom over the Pass-A-Grille channelCredit: Reuters
Residents have been warned of power outages as high winds threaten to cause damage.
Some homeowners in Southern Florida placed sandbags outside their houses and some schools have closed.
A storm shelter has since been opened in Hillsborough County while the White House has issued an emergency declaration for all of Florida.
It was reported that a tornado was on the ground near Clewiston in the early hours of Tuesday morning, according to Fox4.
Meanwhile, a boy, 15, and a 75-year-old woman died on Saturday in separate events in the Dominican Republic after walls collapsed on them.
Torrential rain is sweeping across FloridaCredit: AP
Venice Fishing Pier at Brohard Park has been taped off amid safety concernsCredit: Reuters
Waves 12-to-14 ft (356cm to 427cm) high washed debris ashore in capital Santo Domingo.
In Barbados, more than 1,100 residents reported damage to property and at least 62 properties collapsed as the island was battered with strong gusts and torrential downpours.
Downed trees also were reported in Haiti, which is especially vulnerable to floods and landslides because of widespread erosion and deforestation.
It comes as search and rescue teams working at the site of the collapsed Miami condo in Surfside try to find more victims from the rubble as the wet weather hits.
Four more bodies were pulled from the rubble on Tuesday, bringing the total death toll to 32.
Authorities have confirmed that 70 out of the 113 who remain missing were inside the condo that collapsed.
Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah said there was a two-hour delay due to lightning.
He said rescue crews had removed 5.5million pounds of debris from the site.
Charles Burkett, mayor of Surfside, warned the gusts were “hampering” crews operating heavy cranes.
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