6:54PM July 2, 2021

SCATTERED STORMS THIS WEEKEND; TROPICAL STORM ELSA APPROACHING ANTILLES… Showers and thunderstorms will be possible today and into the 4th of July holiday weekend. Our main focus this weekend will be on Tropical Storm Elsa, currently located near Barbados and the southern Lesser Antilles. Elsa is rapidly moving west-northwest into the Caribbean Sea. This general motion is expected to continue this weekend as the storm approaches Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Cuba. Forecast confidence for the track and intensity of Elsa early next week remains fairly low, thus it remains too early to know if direct local impacts in south Alabama and northwest Florida will be possible. Please see the detailed paragraph below concerning forecast trends concerning the local area. I will have many more updates this weekend posted in the RedZone Weather app. Please check back in for updates. Your full Friday morning forecast discussion is below.

RAIN & THUNDERSTORMS LIKELY AT TIMES THROUGH MONDAY… Scattered, pop-up showers and thunderstorms will continue to be the weather headline for our local area today, Saturday, Sunday, and on Monday. I see no reason to modify the forecast at this point. Storms will be most numerous each day in the afternoon and evening hours, although a few showers and storms cannot completely be ruled out in the morning hours as well. High temperatures will consistently be in the mid- to upper-80s through Monday with morning lows in the low-70s.

4TH OF JULY FIREWORKS FORECAST… Unfortunately, it is just about impossible to know exactly where showers and storms will develop on Sunday, which is when most municipalities will conduct their annual 4th of July fireworks displays. We know, conclusively, that storms will be around, but there simply is no way to know exactly where storms will be happening Sunday evening. I will have radar updates posted on Sunday in the RedZone Weather app.

TROPICAL STORM ELSA – FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE… Tropical Storm Elsa continues to gradually become more organized as the system continues rapidly moving west-northwest. The center of Elsa is currently very near the island of Barbados, which is just to the east of the main island chain of the Lesser Antilles. A Tropical Storm Warning continues for several of the Antilles this morning. Elsa will move across the eastern Caribbean Sea today before moving just south of the Dominican Republic and Haiti (Hispaniola) on Saturday. The forecast for Elsa gets a bit more convoluted starting on Sunday, although clarity IS increasing in the future of the storm. Nearly all of the model guidance shows Elsa interacting with the high terrain of Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Cuba. The high terrain of these islands should help to limit the overall intensity of the system, likely keeping Elsa at tropical storm or perhaps category 1 hurricane status, through the weekend.

ELSA TO MOVE TOWARD SOUTH FLORIDA THIS WEEKEND… Impacts in South Florida from Tropical Storm Elsa, specifically in the Florida Keys, may begin as early as Sunday evening. The official ‘cone of uncertainty’ from the National Hurricane Center continues to show general movement toward the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Peninsula. Technically, the cone of uncertainty includes Panama City, FL and points eastward, including all of the Florida Peninsula (Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Ft. Myers, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, the Florida Keys are all in the cone of uncertainty). Model guidance has been fairly consistent over the last 24-36 hours showing a track near the Florida Peninsula, but it remains too soon to know if the center of Elsa will move into the Gulf, straight north across the Peninsula, or even north into the Atlantic near The Bahamas. Regardless of this uncertainty, everyone from Panama City, FL and points south and east should be thinking about the potential for a tropical storm or even a category 1 hurricane moving near you in the days ahead.

ELSA – FORECAST TRENDS FOR LOCAL AREA… It is true that the forecast trends with Tropical Storm Elsa were mostly good news over the last 24 hours for our local area in that track confidence continues to slowly increase on a path that would take the system perhaps a bit to our east. Keep in mind, however, that this system is still 5-6 days out and forecast changes are still LIKELY. The trends have been good, but it is WAY too early to give any type of all clear. Please remain vigilant and check in for updates this weekend. It is my hope we are able to have a better idea of the ultimate track of Elsa later in the weekend.

APP ALERTS… redzoneweather.com/app is the link where you can download the free RedZone Weather app. We post brief updates throughout each day in the app, keeping you up-to-date about the latest happenings in weather across south Alabama and northwest Florida. Once you have the free app downloaded to your iOS or Android device, be sure to visit the Alerts tab (lower right corner) then tap the large, yellow Alert Settings button to customize the alerts you would like to receive straight from me.

See all the details in your Friday morning #rzw forecast video. Have a great 4th of July weekend!

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