WAKEFIELD, N.J. — The US National Weather Service expanded Tropical Storm Warnings early Thursday morning to all coastal areas.
Tropical Storm Elsa is forecast to move across the Mid-Atlantic region this evening into Friday morning. Tropical storm force winds could begin as early as this evening into tonight.
Heavy rainfall can be expected from this afternoon into Friday morning. Increased swells and rip current risk will be possible as well today through Friday.
“We are still expecting heavy rainfall (2-3”+), gusty winds at the coast, and the potential for a few tornadoes,” the statement said. “The main impacts will take place Thursday afternoon into Thursday night.”
The National Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. update said a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:
• South Santee River, South Carolina, to Sandy Hook, New Jersey
• Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds
• Chesapeake Bay south of North Beach and the tidal Potomac south of Cobb Island
• Delaware Bay south of Slaughter Beach
• Long Island from East Rockaway Inlet to the eastern tip along the south shore and from Port Jefferson Harbor eastward on the north shore
• New Haven, Connecticut to Merrimack River, Massachusetts including Cape Cod, Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket
At the time of the announcement, the storm was moving into North Carolina with heavy rain and maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.
“Tropical storms and hurricanes are not just a coastal threat. They can bring heavy rain, flooding, and damaging winds far enough inland that the entire Mid-Atlantic is at risk of these impacts,” said FEMA Region 3 Administrator MaryAnn Tierney. “FEMA is prepared to respond and support Mid-Atlantic communities. You should take steps to know your risk and prepare for severe weather. You can get started by downloading the FEMA App to your phone to get weather alerts from the National Weather Service and view preparedness tips/checklists.”
• Always follow instructions from your local public safety officials during severe weather emergencies.
•If told to seek shelter or evacuate, do so without delay. Do not allow a fear of COVID-19 to prevent you from seeking shelter with others if that is your only option.
• Have several ways to receive warnings/alerts from the National Weather Service. Do not rely on a single source of weather alert information.
• Turn ON Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) in your smartphone settings.
• Keep a NOAA Weather radio tuned to your local emergency station.
• Sign up for your community’s warning system. Stay tuned for the latest information. Follow the guidance of your local officials and check media and weather reports via official sources, including social media.
• By downloading the FEMA app, you can receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five different locations anywhere in the United States. • Make a habit of checking the weather regularly. This could be TV news, a weather app on your smartphone, or an online weather service. Visiting www.weather.gov and entering your zip code will always give you an accurate forecast and inform you of any hazards in your area.
Protect people and property
• Gather food, water, and other emergency supplies for each member of your family. Don’t forget children and pets! Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. For a full list of emergency supplies, visit www.ready.gov/kit
• Keep important documents in a safe place or create password-protected digital copies. Consider using a waterproof container to store the copies.
• When sheltering in your home, find an interior room on the lowest possible level and away from windows. Duck and cover under or next to a sturdy object.
• Know Your Zone! Become familiar with your evacuation zone, the evacuation route and shelter locations.
• Visit www.ready.gov or talk to your local emergency manager if you have questions or need help making your severe weather safety plan.
• If you are an individual with a disability, access, or functional needs, please visit www.ready.gov/disability for specialized preparedness and planning tips.
The Maryland Transportation Authority said Tropical Storm Elsa may prevent two-way operations (during which one lane of eastbound traffic is directed to the westbound span) at the Bay Bridge today and Friday. Two-way is prohibited during bridge wind warnings/restrictions, fog/limited visibility or times of precipitation. Drivers may experience extensive eastbound delays. Bridge officials will continue to monitor weather conditions and implement two-way operations if possible.
As the storm passes through the Bay region, motorists should be prepared for wind warnings, restrictions and the potential for temporary traffic holds at MDTA bridges. “Any decision to hold traffic at a toll facility would be based upon current weather at a given facility,” the MDTA’s statement said. “The MDTA will make every effort to keep all of its facilities open as long as conditions are deemed safe to do so.”
For the most up-to-date information follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA or view the feed from our homepage at https://mdta.maryland.gov/. 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726) for 24/7 traffic conditions at the Bay Bridge.
On all MDTA bridges, wind warnings and restrictions would be implemented as outlined below:
• Limited Wind Restrictions (sustained wind speeds of 40-49 mph for a continuous period of 10 mins or more; or wind gusts persistently exceed 40 mph over a period of 15 mins) house trailers, empty box trailers or any vehicle that, in the opinion of law-enforcement personnel, may not safely cross the bridge will be prohibited from traveling the bridge. Motorists who are denied passage will be assisted with safely turning around.
• Full Wind Restrictions (sustained wind speeds exceeding 50 mph for a continuous period of 10 mins or more; or wind gusts persistently exceed 50 mph over a period of 15 mins) only automobiles, pickup trucks, flatbed trailers, commercial buses and heavy-laden tractor/trailers are permitted to cross the bridge. Tractor-box trailer combinations will not be permitted to cross any bridge if the gross weight is less than 64,000 pounds.
• Traffic Holds/Bridge Closure (sustained wind speeds exceeding 55 mph for a continuous period of 10 mins or more; or wind gusts persistently exceed 55 mph over a period of 15 mins) In the event of a sudden increase of sustained wind speeds or wind gusts that could jeopardize life or property, the MDTA may elect to discontinue the movement of all traffic across the bridge.
• When a wind warning, restriction or closure is implemented at the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge (US 40), no bicycles are permitted.
Please be aware, we cannot predict what phase of the wind policy a bridge will be in at a particular time of the day. Determinations are NOT made by forecasts, but rather by real-time weather conditions at a given toll facility.
The best times to travel the Bay Bridge this weekend include:
• Friday – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
• Saturday – before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m.
• Sunday – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
Motorists should stay on US 50 on BOTH sides of the bridge to keep local roadways open for first responders and residents.